People who stand on opposite sides to duke it out at board meetings stood together yesterday morning to applaud Brian Lockard's appointment as the new superintendent of Carroll County schools.
From board members to union leaders to a dissident parent running for school board, they praised Dr. Lockard for integrity, knowledge, leadership and compassion.
Dr. Lockard, a Westminster native and second-generation educator, has held the system's second-highest post as deputy superintendent since 1987.
Board members chose him from a field of nine candidates, mostly from within the state. Member C. Scott Stone said he had three criteria for the new superintendent: to be a leader, a manager and a politician.
"Dr. Lockard has those attributes, and he has one I did not see in any of the other candidates," Mr. Stone said. "He has tremendous compassion, and his passion for his life's devotion is overwhelming."
Board members Joseph D. Mish and Ann M. Ballard said parents and staff continually took them aside to say that if Dr. Lockard had applied for the job, they wanted the board to consider him.
"Today feels like the first day I started teaching in 1965," Dr. Lockard said. He began his career at Freedom Elementary School and has spent virtually all of it in Carroll County.
"It is truly an honor and a privilege for me to accept this," he said. "You have given me an awesome responsibility and charge."
Dr. Lockard said he never considered another career.
"I love learning, I love being in class, whether teaching it or receiving it," he said. "I suppose it was the influence of my father. You feel like you can make a difference in the lives of young people."
Public education runs in the family. His father, Holmes Lockard, was a teacher and principal. Dr. Lockard said his father's former students still speak of him.
Dr. Lockard and his wife, Lynda Lockard, once an elementary teacher, have raised two children, Laura and Steven. Steven Lockard is a teacher at Green Valley Elementary School in Frederick County. Laura Lockard is a writer whose job involves ++ public education on the environment.
He begins his new position tomorrow, following his longtime colleague and mentor, Superintendent R. Edward Shilling, who retires today amid much praise from his successor.
"He has encouraged all of us to take risks to improve this school system," Dr. Lockard said of Mr. Shilling. "He has been an outstanding mentor and friend to me."
Dr. Lockard's education has roots in Carroll County, but branches elsewhere. A 1961 Westminster High School graduate, received his bachelor's degree from Frostburg State College in 1965 and his master's degree from Western Maryland College in 1969.
He received his doctorate in 1986 from the American University in Washington. Between degrees, Dr. Lockard has taken graduate courses at Boston University and the Johns Hopkins University.
The harmonious reception by the crowd of 100 that spilled outside the board room at 55 N. Court St. could have been otherwise.
Since April, when Mr. Shilling announced he would retire, several activists have attacked the board for going ahead with naming a new superintendent. The activists and their candidates running for school board had said the board should wait until after the November elections. Two seats will be open.
Others criticized the closed doors of the selection process and contract negotiation. And many simply said the board paid too much money to Mr. Shilling and was likely to pay as much to the new superintendent.
But yesterday, several people praised Dr. Lockard.
"I'm very happy with the choice," said Laura E. Albers, a candidate for school board and parent activist for the past year. "He's a very honest man. I think he may bridge the gap well."
Ms. Albers had been among those who said the board should wait until after the election to choose.
"I think they made the very best choice they could have made," said Harold Fox, staff member for the Carroll County Education Association.
He said Dr. Lockard is known by all staff, and even statewide, for his support of good teaching and for his fairness.
The four-year contract with Dr. Lockard was passed out to the public at the meeting, after he and board members signed it.
The contract does not contain some items that citizens had criticized the board for granting to Mr. Shilling in his second term, such as a car allowance of $700 a month, a post-retirement life insurance policy until age 70 and a contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity.
"We wanted to make it as simple and easy as possible," said board President John D. Myers. He said the board and Dr. Lockard wanted a contract that was straightforward, since both parties know it will be scrutinized publicly.
"I don't have to tell you, we've taken a lot of abuse over the last contract," Mr. Myers said.
Dr. Lockard will earn $116,000 for the 1994-1995 school year, plus $4,640 toward his contribution to the Maryland State Retirement System.