Baltimore County’s school board is looking to hire an interim replacement for Dr. Dallas Dance, who announced his resignation as superintendent earlier this week.
“The Board will need to meet and discuss matters,” wrote school board president Edward Gilliss in an email.
Dance’s replacement most likely won’t be their permanent choice. Gilliss wrote that “[it] seems the board will need to hire an interim superintendent for the period through June 30, 2018.”
Dance announced he’ll be leaving his post as head of the state’s third-largest school system this summer on Tuesday, the day students returned from spring break. In an upbeat statement announcing his departure, he gave few details as to why he’s leaving.
“The last five years serving as Superintendent of Team BCPS have been the best years of my professional life…I have led this organization from my heart believing that we could move mountains, and while not literally, we have begun tackling some large complex issues, which will take us time, effort, energy, and commitment to realize its full impact,” he said.
The outgoing superintendent added to his statement that night that he has “received several offers, but I have not firmly decided. I look forward to sharing in the upcoming weeks what I will be doing post-BCPS.”
A county schools spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment on Dance’s future plans.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz issued a statement that didn’t mention Dance by name, but rather touted the school system’s accomplishments during his time as superintendent: “In the last five years, we embarked upon a plan to build 16 new schools, 12 additions and multiple renovation projects. We have increased our graduation rates. African-American and White students now graduate at the same rate in the Baltimore County Public Schools. And we have brought 21st century technologies to the classroom. We look forward to the next chapter of success for our school system.”
Dance, who holds a Ph.D in education from Virginia Commonwealth University, joined Baltimore County Public Schools in 2012. He’s earned national recognition for introducing foreign language curricula for elementary school grades and new digital education platforms for classroom engagement. During his tenure, the high school graduation rate rose from just shy of 84 percent to above 89 percent.
He’s also weathered criticism for sweeping school system-wide decisions, such as for uniform high school class schedules, and was found to have committed an ethics violation early on in his work as superintendent for not disclosing additional income from his gigs as a consultant and an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond.
While Dance generally enjoyed overall support from the school board, there were rumblings of discontent about his decision-making from newer members in the last year, per the Sun.
Before coming to Baltimore County, Dance held positions as chief middle schools officer for the Houston Independent School District in Texas, as well as executive director of school improvement for Chesterfield County Public Schools and assistant superintendent for Louisa County Public Schools, both located in Virginia. He also worked in various capacities as a teacher and administrator in Henrico County Public Schools, which surrounds Richmond.
Dance was receiving a $287,000 salary, not including his pension, publicly financed car and other perks. His last day, June 30, 2017, marks the end of one fulfilled year of a four-year contract extension he received last May.
State law requires the school board to appoint a permanent superintendent to a four-year term before July 1. It’s therefore very unlikely the school board would have time to conduct a national search for a permanent replacement before Dance leaves.
“During the interim [superintendent]’s service the Board will be able to deliberately decide on the methodology for selecting a permanent superintendent,” Gilliss wrote.
Here’s a novel suggestion: how about – instead of a middle school administrator 1400 miles away from Towson – the board hire someone that’s already part of the community so he/she won’t be so eager to take the cash and bail out early? Also, I’m wondering if Baltimore County taxpayers will ever hear the real story about his early resignation. I’m betting no because Kamenetz will not want to be questioned about this failure during his gubernatorial run.
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