Howard board hastily offers Hickey 4th term

January 21, 1995|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

The Howard County school board -- fearing that it might lose school Superintendent Michael E. Hickey to a school system in Raleigh, N.C. -- has hastily agreed to reappoint him to a fourth term.

But it was not clear whether Dr. Hickey, who is in Raleigh this weekend as one of two finalists for the top school post in the Wake County school system, will agree to stay in his Howard job. According to the head of the Howard school board, Dr. Hickey has not yet responded to the offer. He was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The vote, held during a closed session late Thursday, follows Dr. Hickey's invitation to visit the 77,000-student school system this weekend. It comes before the board has completed his annual evaluation.

Last year, Dr. Hickey, who has been Howard's education chief since 1984, said he wanted to stay in his job.

But the board had been putting off deciding on his reappointment until its planned completion of his evaluation in several weeks, and at least one newly elected board member had been talking about launching a search for a new superintendent.

The invitation to Wake schools changed that. "We felt we needed to tell him immediately," said Susan Cook, Howard board chairwoman. "If he does decide to go to Wake County, it will be on the merits of the systems, not because he was not wanted here.

"There are a lot of people in the community who have no idea what he's done for the school system," Ms. Cook said. "We would not be No. 1 without his leadership."

But new school board member Stephen Bounds, who had been talking last fall about launching a superintendent search, said he wanted the board to wait.

"I would have liked to have seen us have time to do the full evaluation process that we planned," he said. "But the circumstances didn't really make that the best way to proceed in the opinion of the majority. . ."

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