New chief for schools likely soon

June 23, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

The Carroll school board's collective lips remain sealed until Wednesday, when members announce who the new superintendent will be.

Board members won't name the three finalists or say whether they have reached a consensus on one. But three of five members said they are confident they will name a successor at a public meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, even if they have no other meetings until then. None is scheduled.

Maryland law allows the board to conduct most of the search in closed sessions if it chooses. The vote to hire must be public, however.

If the board does not name a successor to Superintendent R. Edward Shilling by the time he begins his retirement July 1, it must name an interim superintendent. Maryland law requires that interim to be a full year, said Ann M. Ballard, vice president of the Carroll Board of Education.

Mr. Shilling announced in April that he would retire. The board posted the vacancy statewide at universities and colleges by the end of that month and closed the applications May 24.

Ms. Ballard said nine people applied. She said some were already working in Carroll County schools, but she declined to say how many.

She said one applicant is a woman. Seven are from Maryland, one from Washington, D.C., and one is from another state.

"None were currently a superintendent," Ms. Ballard said. "All had extensive background in administration."

Board member Joseph D. Mish Jr. said the board decided a national search would have taken too long and cost too much money.

"You have to fly people in here and interview them," he said. But mostly, he said, the board members wanted a leader who was familiar with this state's educational philosophies.

"We wanted them to be somewhat familiar with the Maryland School Performance Program," Mr. Mish said. He said all the applicants were familiar with outcomes-based education. That concept requires that schools set clear goals for what students should know and be able to do by the end of a unit, course or grade level, and by the time they graduate.

"There was nobody hostile to it," Mr. Mish said of the applicants. "You have degrees of support, degrees of enthusiasm."

The board interviewed three of the nine applicants at the Baltimore office of its lawyer. That location protected the confidentiality of the applicants, said member Carolyn L. Scott.

Last Friday, the board met to work on the terms of a contract.

Several members of the community criticized the board for the contract it gave Mr. Shilling in 1991, saying the salary, built-in raises and benefits were too high. Many political observers believed the issue defeated former School Board member Cheryl A. McFalls when she ran for re-election in 1992. However, other residents came forward to praise Mr. Shilling and say he was worth his salary.

Mr. Shilling earns $111,126. Benefits include contributions to a tax-sheltered annuity plan of $5,000 last year and $7,000 this year and a match of his contributions to his state pension.

The range of salaries in Maryland a year ago, when Mr. Shilling earned $109,108, was $70,000 in Somerset County to $129,544 in Montgomery County, according to figures from the Maryland Department of Education. The average was $94,850.

His salary was the seventh-highest in the state. Teacher salaries in Carroll are eighth-highest in the state.

Ronald Peiffer, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said superintendent salaries vary by district size and wealth, and other salaries in the region.

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