Marchione's legacy

Baltimore County: Outgoing superintendent did more than restore calm to school system.

August 24, 1999

IN FOUR YEARS as head of Baltimore County schools, Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione accomplished much more than simply restoring calm to a system that had been roiled by change and controversy.

Student achievement is improving and the gap between African-American and white students is narrowing. Dr. Marchione can take pride in accomplishing the goals he set when the school board removed the word "interim" from his title in March 1996. He was appointed to succeed the deposed Stuart Berger after serving as deputy superintendent for 12 years under Dr. Berger and Robert Y. Dubel.

Dr. Marchione is not about to be a lame-duck superintendent who coasts into retirement, however. Judging from his speech to the staff last week, in preparation for the arrival of students next week, Dr. Marchione will continue to press for improved achievement in the classroom, greater collaboration among parents, teachers, administrators and students and more efficient use of resources.

The 12-member school board, with four new members appointed this month by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, should take advantage of the lead time Dr. Marchione has given to search for his successor. It should also not repeat the mistake of excluding the public from the selection process.

Once the board identifies the finalists, their names should be released. A secretive process four years ago unfairly marred Dr. Marchione's appointment.

A new superintendent must continue to focus attention and resources on schools where achievement lags. The new leader should have skills to oversee a massive $530 million school construction and renovation program planned during the next eight years.

Dr. Marchione's quiet, cooperative spirit helped keep attention on the system's main task -- educating children. It's a good plan for a new superintendent to follow.

Correction

A Saturday editorial should have identified George Armwood as the victim of a 1933 Eastern Shore lynching. The Sun regrets the error.

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