Candidate search for school chief progressing

Applicants `far and wide' show interest, officials say

February 15, 2000|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's search for a new public school leader has taken off without a national search company and is attracting a wide variety of candidates, according to school board President J. Tyson Tildon.

Advertisements appeared last week in national education publications and in several newspapers. The school board has called and written to 75 to 100 people nationwide who are prospective candidates or who might know of people interested in the job.

The deadline for applications is March 10.

In response to the solicitations and advertisements, school staff members have gotten many informal requests for information about the job, said school spokeswoman Edie House.

"I am hearing we are getting a lot of interest, far and wide," Tildon said.

City school chief Robert Booker gave the school board notice last month that he didn't want an extension of his contract when it expires in June. Booker will leave after two years on the job.

In its 1997-1998 search for a chief executive officer, the school board hired a search company, but relations with the company deteriorated. School board members said privately they were not happy with the candidates the company found. Booker applied on his own.

This time, Tildon said, the board has appointed a subcommittee of four board members, Michelle Noel, William Struever, Patricia Morris and Sam Stringfield, to lead the search. The four will be assisted by a public advisory committee, which will review resumes and develop a list of candidates by April 1.

The school board will conduct an initial round of interviews before choosing finalists.

Tildon said he would like to see the names of finalists made public, but he said that is a question he will put to the advisory committee.

Today, the school board is expected to announce the appointment of the advisory committee members. They will include the Rev. Arnold Howard, Enon Baptist Church; Joseph Blair Jr., former president, Baltimore Life Cos.; Jesse Hoskins, city personnel director; Bebe Verdery, education director, American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland; Lynn Ward, mother of one of the original plaintiffs in a special education lawsuit against the school system; Michael Hamilton, president of the school board's Parent and Community Advisory Committee; Jennifer Prowell, a student school board member; and Sandra Ashe, principal of John Eager Howard Elementary School.

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