Board seeks to replace Hyde

Interim school chief would serve through next school year

July 16, 2000|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

The Carroll Board of Education will begin the process of finding a temporary replacement for Superintendent William H. Hyde, who has unexpectedly announced he will retire Sept. 1. He has two years left in his four-year contract.

School board President C. Scott Stone said the board plans to appoint an interim superintendent to a nine-month term to lead the system through the next school year.

He would not say whether board members have identified possible candidates and said it is "equally likely" that an interim appointee could come from inside or outside Carroll schools.

"We would like to do this as quickly as possible because we believe that once the interim superintendent is identified, there can be a transition phase, which is to everyone's benefit," he said. "So sooner is better, but having said that, it is a deliberate process, and deliberately, we are not rushing. But we understand the urgency of the situation as well."

The election in November, however, makes the search for a permanent replacement a bit tricky, Stone said.

Although the school board will likely want to begin the hunt for a new schools chief, Maryland law prohibits the appointment of a superintendent before Feb. 1 of the year in which the superintendent's term begins. Terms run from July 1 to June 30. That means that a new schools leader won't be named until after a new board takes office in January.

With at least three of the four school board candidates calling for changes in the way the school board oversees the 27,000-student system, the election has the potential to alter the priorities and balance of power on a board often accused of rubber-stamping staff recommendations.

"All I can say is that the current board is aware of the situation and is very sensitive to it," Stone said. "But we haven't discussed it enough to comment on how we would handle it."

With Hyde's announcement Thursday, Carroll joins the ranks of school systems in the Baltimore metropolitan region that within the past year have faced the task of finding a new leader.

In Baltimore County, Superintendent Joe A. Hairston took the helm July 3, three days after Anthony G. Marchione retired from the nation's 25th-largest school system.

Howard County's superintendent, John O'Rourke, started work the same day.

O'Rourke's predecessor, Michael E. Hickey, retired June 30 after 16 years as leader of the 42,000-student district.

Compared with the task of finding a permanent superintendent - a process that could involve a lengthy nationwide search - appointing an interim schools chief is much simpler.

Stone, who directed school board members to funnel all questions about the search process to him, said the board has not decided whether to appoint an interim superintendent on its own or to create a search committee.

He said no meeting has been scheduled to discuss the matter but that "the situation is so fluid that each of the board members realizes that it might be necessary to meet on short notice. I suspect that the majority, if not all, of those discussions will take place in private."

Stone added that the board will consult its attorney before each session to ensure its meetings are permissible under the open-meetings act.

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