Roanoke City School Superintendent Verletta White, formerly Baltimore County's Interim School Superintendent, reads to students. Photo courtesy of Roanoke City Public Schools.

The Baltimore County School Board is looking for a replacement for Superintendent Darryl Williams, who announced last month he will not seek a second four year term.

As the search begins, some are lamenting the one that got away.

For a moment in 2018, it looked like Verletta White, who had been a student in the Baltimore County Public Schools as a child, and spent much of her career there, would become the next superintendent. The school board picked her to replace Dallas Dance after he resigned amid a perjury scandal. But State School Superintendent Karen Salmon intervened and blocked White’s appointment due to an ethics violation.

Salmon, who is now retired, declined to be interviewed.

Even though the top job in the Baltimore County schools is open again, White said she is not interested.

“Well that’s funny,” White said when asked. “I would have to say no.”

White had a lot of support both within and outside the school system when she was vying for the job five years ago.

“I do think Verletta was the right person,” said Tom Quirk, a former county councilman. “I think we missed the boat on it.

Quirk has been a harsh critic of the current superintendent, Darryl Williams. Williams was selected in 2019 by a school board divided with one faction wanting to again offer the job to White, who at the time was the interim superintendent.

Board member Moalie Jose said Williams has never had the full support of the board.

“Any leader cannot be successful if they cannot implement their vision, their strategy, without support of the governing body, in this case the school board,” Jose said.

The board is now searching for its fourth leader in six years.

“We have tons of research that shows when you keep switching leaders, it actually brings down graduation rates, achievement rates, when you keep having different superintendents,” Jose said. So I hope that this board comes together and supports the next superintendent wholeheartedly.

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.

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