Balto. Co. schools' deputies named 1st African-American educator is chosen for the No. 2 post

April 10, 1996|By Marego Athans | Marego Athans,SUN STAFF

In his first major move since he was named Baltimore County schools superintendent last month, Dr. Anthony G. Marchione last night appointed the first African-American educator to the school system's No. 2 position.

As part of a reorganization of his inner circle, Dr. Marchione selected Elfreda W. Massie, 45, to be one of two deputy superintendents.

Dr. Massie, who will oversee the school district's buildings, budget and other noninstructional operations, now is associate superintendent for personnel in Montgomery County. That 121,000-student district is tied with Prince George's County as the state's largest school system.

"She is an outstanding educator and administrator," Dr. Marchione said after the school board approved the reorganization.

For some black leaders, the move signifies an effort by Dr. Marchione to smooth conflicts with the county National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other African-American organizations, who vehemently opposed his appointment.

"It sends a positive signal that there needs to be diversity in not only how we educate students but for those we hire to educate children," said board member Dunbar Brooks. "At that level you influence the climate of the school system and ultimately what happens in the classroom."

But if anyone hopes Dr. Massie's appointment will help Dr. Marchione's relationship with county NAACP official Bernetha George, signs are it won't work.

"Bringing on black faces does not resolve the problem," said Dr. George, vice president and education committee chairman of the county branch of the NAACP. "Black faces have always been in the Baltimore County school system, and the problem has thrived," she said, referring to the persistent achievement gap between black and white students.

The highest-ranking black administrator in recent years, Dr. Marchione said, was Walter G. Amprey, now Baltimore City's superintendent of schools. Dr. Amprey was Baltimore County's No. 3 official when he left for the city in 1991.

Dr. Massie, who will earn $98,000 and split the deputy superintendent's duties with Michael N. Riley, is coming home to Baltimore County.

She worked in the county school system from 1971 to 1991, most recently as director of personnel.

"It feels like home. It is my home, I was here 20 years," she said last night.

Dr. Riley, who will oversee administration and instruction, is being promoted from associate superintendent. However, he may not be in Baltimore County long; he is a candidate for superintendencies in other school districts.

Dr. Marchione said last night that he chose Dr. Massie solely because she qualifies as the best candidate.

Asked whether he hoped her appointment would help soothe race relations, he said: "I've always had a commitment to having a balanced superintendent staff."

The reorganization, which reduces Dr. Marchione's inner circle to 13 from 16 while splitting the deputy superintendent's job into two jobs, is meant to streamline authority, enhance accountability and match specific talents with responsibilities, Dr. Marchione said.

It is part of a broader reorganization that will eliminate 34 administrative positions that, along with other central office cuts, will save $2.9 million.

More changes will be announced next month.

This system offers more checks and balances, Dr. Marchione said, noting that Dr. Massie will be in charge of holding the instructional departments accountable for meeting their achievement goals.

Among other shifts announced last night:

Stephen C. Jones, Northeast area superintendent, will be promoted to associate superintendent of business, facilities and human resources, a new position.

Robert H. Chapman, now acting deputy superintendent who oversees the budget and other noninstructional operations, will become associate superintendent of educational support services.

Pub Date: 4/10/96

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