Parham is honored by Md. school leaders She is named Superintendent of the Year

November 09, 1995|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,SUN STAFF

Two years ago, Carol S. Parham took over a school system few other administrators would have wanted. Yesterday, peers named her Maryland's Superintendent of the Year for taking on the challenge and overcoming it.

"Anne Arundel County has gone through quite a bit of problems and turmoils," said Harford County Superintendent Ray R. Keech, president of the Public School Superintendents' Association of Maryland, which presents the award. "She came into a job assignment where there were some disruptive waters and gained a smooth operation.

"It seems Carol is completely focused on what is best for the kids."

The Board of Education plucked Dr. Parham from her job as the school system's personnel director and put her in the system's highest office after C. Berry Carter II, then the superintendent, was put on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into his handling of suspected child-abuse cases.

That investigation stemmed from a scandal that erupted at Northeast High School when former teacher Ronald W. Price was charged with having sex with students. Price, who was convicted and is serving a 26-year sentence, said other teachers also were involved with students. Two teachers were charged with sexual child abuse but were acquitted.

"Through her leadership, things have stabilized and gotten into issues a school system should be addressing -- trying to improve student outcomes," said Joseph Foster, president of the school board. "It really shows well for the school system, especially her [if] peers have recognized the accomplishments she has made over the last couple of years."

Mr. Foster and other education leaders say Dr. Parham succeeds because she gets out into the community and talks with parents, students and teachers.

"I'm very excited. It's an honor," said Dr. Parham, the county's first black and first female school superintendent. "I'm just really pleased. I'm a representative of all the superintendents in the state who work really hard on behalf of all the children."

Dr. Parham will compete against superintendents from all 50 states for National Superintendent of the Year. The winner will be named in the spring. Maryland's nominee last year was Walter G. Amprey, superintendent of the Baltimore schools.

A 1966 graduate of Forest Park High School in Baltimore, Dr. Parham earned a bachelor's degree in social studies education in 1970 from the University of Maryland College Park. Her first job was as a teacher in Baltimore.

Dr. Parham said she enjoyed teaching but really wanted to be a guidance counselor. In 1973, she earned her master's degree in guidance from the Johns Hopkins University.

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