Baltimore County says 20 interested in superintendent job

School board hopes to have list of semifinalists ready by start of March

January 18, 2000|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

About 20 candidates interested in succeeding Baltimore County School Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione have contacted the consulting firm hired by the county's Board of Education to help find a replacement.

"That's the number of people who have applied or who have said that they wish to apply," said school board President Donald L. Arnold. "We hope to have a list of semifinalists by the first part of March."

Marchione, who has been head of the nation's 25th-largest school system since 1996, is retiring in June.

Consultants at Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates of Glenview, Ill., plan to collect most application packets by the end of the month.

However, the board will consider candidates who express interest in the job after that.

"It's not like we won't accept applications after a certain date," Arnold said. "We could have a good candidate at the last minute."

Only one candidate's name has surfaced.

Donald I. Mohler III, an area superintendent in northeast Baltimore County, said he plans to apply for the job.

"I have spent my entire career in Baltimore County, and both my children have been educated here," he said. "I expect my granddaughter to be educated here, too. So I have a very sincere interest in the future of the school system. I believe Baltimore County to be one of the best school systems in the nation."

Mohler began teaching social studies at Lansdowne High School in 1972. He also served as principal at Catonsville High School. As an assistant to former Superintendent Stuart Berger -- who was fired in 1995 -- Mohler dealt with the news media. He holds a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

Deputy Superintendent Elfreda W. Massie said she has not decided if she will apply but is "definitely interested." Massie was a finalist for the superintendent's job in Montgomery County last year but dropped out when officials there discovered that she and her husband were seeking bankruptcy protection from more than $800,000 in debts.

Another possible candidate is former Baltimore County schools employee Michael N. Riley, who left in 1996 to become superintendent of a 16,000-student school system in Bellevue, Wash. When he left Baltimore County, he was associate superintendent for administration and curriculum.

Riley said he has not been contacted by consultants for the superintendent's job. Typically, he said, school officials will direct consultants to ask a candidate to apply. Riley declined to say whether he would apply if he is not contacted.

Consultants will make background checks on all applicants.

Arnold said he expects the board to announce the name of Marchione's replacement before April. The board will not release names before that.

"Things seem to be going along quite well at this point," Arnold said. "We are very pleased with the results so far."

A search for a school superintendent to succeed Michael E. Hickey is being conducted in neighboring Howard County. In that process, residents will be able to meet several of the finalists before a superintendent is hired.

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