Shilling chosen by his 23 peers as state Superintendent of Year

November 10, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

His 23 colleagues statewide have chosen Carroll County schools Superintendent R. Edward Shilling as Maryland Superintendent of the Year, with a shot at the national award in February.

Evelyn Blose Holman, president of the Public School Superintendents' Association of Maryland, announced yesterday that Mr. Shilling was the unanimous choice of the superintendents at their retreat Friday in Ocean City.

"We're proud of Ed," said Dr. Holman, who won the honor in 1990, the second year it was given out. The most recent winner was Noel Farmer, who retired this year as superintendent in Frederick County.

"We look for someone who has integrity, innovative ideas, who symbolizes the best educational leadership," Dr. Holman said.

She said that Mr. Shilling "keeps abreast of national issues."

"He's our legislative chairman, he's been active in our group as a liaison to the State Board of Education," she said.

Mr. Shilling does not hesitate to speak up on statewide issues in a "nice but firm" way, she said.

"He does not mince words. He is kind to people, but he says what he thinks is right," she said. "We know he's making his decision for the kids."

Mr. Shilling said yesterday that he was honored to have been selected by his peers.

"It felt a little embarrassing, because I know a lot of them are great," he said.

"I try to support what I believe in. Some people may perceive that as risk-taking. I see it as standing up for what I believe in."

Since he became superintendent in 1987, he has dealt with controversies ranging from crowded classrooms to his decision to have students make up snow days last June.

Most recently, Mr. Shilling and the school board have been criticized by some parents for pursuing outcomes-based education, although other parents have supported it.

The approach means setting standards for what students should know by the end of a unit or course, and what they should be like when they graduate, such as being "able communicators, perceptive problem solvers and individuals with a positive self-concept."

In the summer of 1992, a public debate erupted over whether the school board should have agreed the year before to a four-year contract with built-in raises for Mr. Shilling. His salary this year is $111,000.

While some government officials and residents criticized the board for agreeing to the raises and for keeping the information from the public, others took the occasion to praise Mr. Shilling and say he was worth the money.

Supporters included Commissioner Donald I. Dell and Carolyn McKenzie, president of the Carroll County Council of PTAs.

Mr. Shilling, 53, has been a Carroll County educator since 1963, when he began as a junior high English teacher.

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