—– By: Ann Costantino —–
Maryland State superintendent of schools, Karen Salmon, PhD, has approved Darryl L. Williams, PhD as Baltimore County Public Schools’ permanent superintendent.
The day after school board chairwoman, Kathleen Causey sent a letter seeking Williams’ approval, Salmon wasted no time approving him, wishing the school board well on its new appointment.
“I extend my best wishes to the Baltimore County Board of Education and Dr. Williams for future success,” Salmon said in her short response to Causey and the school board.
After a four-month search using search firm, Ray & Associates, to find viable candidates, on Tuesday during a surprise announcement, District 1 school board member, Lisa Mack, read a resolution affirming Williams’ appointment. The public was not notified the school board would be voting on the superintendent appointment on Tuesday.
Board members voted 8-4, with Cheryl Pasteur, Roger Hayden, Moalie Jose and Makeda Scott declining to vote in favor of Williams.
Interim Superintendent Verletta White, who also applied for the permanent position, has led the system for two years, after former Superintendent Dallas Dance left amid a criminal investigation in June 2017. But Salmon declined to approve White twice last year for the permanent job, after the previous board approved her appointment and sought state approval.
White is known as a homegrown education leader, having a long history in Baltimore County Public Schools. She has been working in the field of education for over 25 years and was a Baltimore County schools’ student, principal and administrator.
But Salmon denied the board’s request, citing ethical violations stemming from White’s failure to disclose consulting work she did for the Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI). ERDI pays education leaders to meet with its clients, which pay thousands of dollars in membership fees to meet with education leaders. White earned up to $12,000 as a consultant for ERDI, but she failed to disclose the job on her financial disclosure statements.
Salmon also asked the school board to conduct a nationwide search for superintendent candidates and start a widely requested procurement audit. The results of the first phase of the audit were provided in April, prior to the selection of final superintendent candidates who had applied for the permanent position.
White and other top school administrators said the audit exonerated the school system from any further scandals that may have occurred under the tenure of Dance, who was convicted of perjury for lying on his financial disclosure statements. Dance spent four months in a Virginia jail last year and lost his superintendent licence credentials in Maryland and Virginia.
Some critics of the school board have said that White has been unfairly tied to Dance, but could not shake the association. But Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt said during Dance’s sentencing, that White’s infractions were not the same as those of Dance, who prosecutors proved deliberately deceived the school system for years.
Williams, an associate area superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools, will take the lead at Baltimore County schools on July 1. White is able to return to her position as chief academic officer for at least one year.
This story may be updated.