The Howard County Board of Education (BOE) has chosen a new superintendent. According to a statement from the Howard County Public School System and BOE Chairperson Sandra French, Renee A. Foose will assume the superintendent position July 1.
The announcement was sent at noon, about 12 hours after board members finished their deliberation, which included input from the community, according to board member Allen Dyer.
“I got home at about 12 a.m.,” he said.
Howard County residents have taken to the Internet to discuss the appointment.
Scores of "Congratulations" and "Look forward to working with you" tweets peppered Twitter, but elsewhere residents expressed concerns.
“Some may wonder, though I'm not sure why, which school system picked first?” Bill Woodcock wrote on 53 Beers on Tap. “I guess the rationale is that some may be suspicious that Dr. Foose was picked because and only after BaltCo stole Dr. Dance away from us.”
Board member Cyndy Vaillancourt said on HowardPublicEd, a public Yahoo forum, that although the Howard County BOE was “just a little slower on communicating the decision,” both finalists were available as of Monday evening’s meet-the-candidate forum – and when the BOE offered the position to Foose.
“We did NOT want to be in the position of losing our first choice because we did not act fast enough, and we did NOT,” she wrote. She said she was speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the board.
That sentiment was echoed in the statement sent by HCPSS and BOE chairperson Sandra French: “[Foose] is our first choice, and we are so thrilled she said yes.”
Some residents also expressed concern about how much time they were given to get to know the candidates.
On HowardPublicEd, “Jack” said that he was unimpressed with both candidates whom, he said, the BOE enabled to “crawl in the back door.” He said it was “shameful” that the public only got to meet two candidates:
Now after work today I went to my farm and fed my cows. They are hungry, everyday. As soon as they see me they start bawling and run across the field. After I feed them it is quiet and I can walk through the herd making sure all is well. Today the hcpss orchestrated a public feeding. Don't be chattle.
BTW I do not care what 2 applicants had to say at this charlatans parade.
“How does the BOE expect community involvement in this decision when the ‘meet and greet’ info was not publicly announced until the DAY OF?” Asked Jody Lamberti on the Columbia Patch Facebook page.
“I certainly didn't know about it until [Tuesday] morning, when it came through on the Patch email. Did so few people know about the event that it took just 12 hours from the end of the Q & A to consider the community's opinions?”
TJD responded: “Parents of HCPSS students were invited twice, last week and again Monday when they announced the finalists' names.”
Jack echoed those comments, writing on Ellicott City Patch: “Notice how quiet this discussion is? The public was not invited to the dog and pony show. We do not have a voice in the matter.”
Patch received an email Thursday to an undisclosed list of recipients indicating that the two then-unnamed finalists would be available Monday to meet with residents.
In Baltimore County, where Dance will be the new superintendent, some commenters have expressed similar concerns.
Ddbs00 wrote on Towson Patch: "... The hiring process wasn't transparent at all, and there are plenty of good reasons why interested persons don't put a lot of faith and trust in the Baltimore Co. Board of Ed."
Despite the scheduling conflicts and what he called "short notice," one Howard County resident wrote that the process left him feeling better, not worse.
"Both candidates spoke often about the importance of community-involvement," Ray Lischner wrote on HowardPublicEd. "I entered this process full of cynicism, but after today, I am hopeful."