Veteran educator in Carroll chosen to lead its schools

March 31, 2010|By Nicole Fuller | nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

The Carroll County Board of Education named a veteran educator and administrator in the county as its new superintendent Wednesday morning after a nationwide search.

The board voted unanimously to appoint as superintendent Stephen H. Guthrie, 54, currently Carroll's assistant superintendent of administration. Guthrie will succeed current Superintendent Charles Ecker, who plans to retire at the close of this academic year.

Guthrie, who began his career in education teaching social studies, said Ecker's tenure inspired him to work for the job.

"I plan to replicate his unique leadership, his approach to problem solving and motivating others," said Guthrie, adding that his experience in and out of the classroom would serve him well.

Barbara J. Shreeve, president of the board, said that while all of the finalists were "excellent" candidates, Guthrie's familiarity with the school system made him ideal for the position.

"I just felt it would be a very easy transition," said Shreeve. "He's very well known and well respected."

Guthrie, who began his career as a social studies teacher in 1978, taught in California and Pennsylvania before arriving in Carroll in 1982. Guthrie began working for the human resources department in 1991 and became the director in 2001. Guthrie has held his current position for the past eight years.

Guthrie will begin his new job July 1.

Asked what issues he would tackle as superintendent, Guthrie demurred, saying he didn't want to pre-empt Ecker while he's still on the job.

After Ecker's retirement announcement in September, the board held focus groups throughout the county, asking for community input from residents.

The board also hired HYA, a national search firm based in Chicago, paying it $15,000 to advertise the job nationwide. Twenty-two candidates applied for the job that pays $180,000 annually. The board narrowed it down to four finalists — Guthrie, two candidates from Maryland and one from out of state, said Shreeve.

Ecker, who was named superintendent in 2002 after serving two years as interim superintendent, called Guthrie a "very good choice."

"He knows the system, " said Ecker, 81, a former Howard County executive. "He knows the county. He can hit the ground running."

Guthrie lives in Finksburg with his wife, Barbara Guthrie, and their son.

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