Four Challenges for the New Baltimore County Superintendent

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Joe Hairston, superintendent of Baltimore County schools for over a decade, announced this week that he’s leaving. Are you interested in his job?

The pros:  while teachers in the County have some of the lowest salaries in the state, the superintendent’s salary last year was the highest in Maryland. (Last year, Hairston made $303,000, thanks to his long tenure.) And Baltimore County schools consistently rank near the top of statewide assessments of test scores and graduation rates.

Not so fast, though:  The job is tough, and getting tougher. Here are a few of the challenges the next superintendent will have to face:

  • Pockets of wealth — and pockets of poverty. Being charged with a district that draws from such a diverse economic pool means that the next superintendent needs to be sensitive to issues of equity.
  • The recession. According to Hank Gmitro, whose firm helped several Maryland counties search for new superintendents, districts like Baltimore Country are looking for “candidates who want to make a difference and understand the issues around equity: ‘How do you get everyone the resources they need?’ And it has become more difficult in hard financial times.”


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