Public Input Sought For City Schools CEO

Oct 1, 2013

Baltimore City Schools Interim CEO Tisha Edwards.
Credit Bret Jaspers / WYPR

Residents get to tell Baltimore city school officials what they want in a new superintendent at five public forums this month.

A national search is underway to replace Andres Alonso, who resigned in May after serving six years as the district’s schools CEO.

School board members will use information gathered at the public meetings to write a job description for a new superintendent. Ray & Associates, a national executive search firm hired by the board to manage the recruitment process, will oversee the meetings.

Two focus groups were held earlier this month and attended by educators, parents, administrators, students and business leaders. Board members also set up an online survey on the district’s web site to collect public input through Oct. 15 at 8 a.m.

School board president Shanaysha Sauls says at this point, they don’t know what characteristics and qualifications they want the new superintendent to possess. “We do know it’s going to take an extraordinary person with an extraordinary commitment not only to Baltimore but in getting the job done,” Sauls said. “We’re really interested in hearing from our partners before we start to define the profile.”

School board vice chair David Stone added that they have no preference at this point for potential internal candidates, such as interim superintendent Tisha Edwards, or external applicants. “That candidate may come from Baltimore or anywhere else in the country,” Stone said. “We’re certainly going to make sure to leave no stone unturned in finding the best person. Certainly if Ms. Edwards were interested in applying, her application will be considered like anyone else’s.”

Stone emphasized that the board is looking for someone who is willing to make a long-term commitment to the district. “We had a great experience with a long-term superintendent and we want that kind of commitment again. We don’t want people in and out. We’ve had that experience for too long,” Stone said.

The first public forum will be held Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. at Baltimore Polytech Institute. The other forums will be held at 6 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 2 at Digital Harbor High; Thursday, Oct. 3 at Frederick Douglass High and The Enoch Pratt Southeast Anchor Library. An 8:30 a.m. forum is scheduled for Thursday also at the district’s office on North Avenue.

Sauls says they hope to wrap up the process and have a superintendent selected by March 2014.