Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– He’s been at the head of one of the nation’s largest school districts for more than a decade. Now, Dr. Joe Hairston says he’s stepping down.
Gigi Barnett speaks to parents about that news.
A new contract may not be in Hairston’s future and the reasons why are not clear.
Baltimore County School Superintendent Dr. Joe Hairston says this school year would be his last, and he won’t sign a new contract when the current one ends in June.
The reaction from parents is mixed.
Some parents give Hairston’s leadership high marks.
“I’ve been very happy with the school district,” said parent Jesse Kaplin. “Each of our children has had different needs in their schools and they’ve been addressed very well.”
Others say a new superintendent may have new ideas.
“In many ways, I think it’s an incredibly solid foundation we have here so we always worry about things that are unpredictable,” Michael McConnell, another parent, said. “But, of course, when somebody new comes in you hope for positive changes.”
Hairston recently addressed teachers and principals in August, just before the start of the new school year. After 12 years at the helm, he led the school system to higher attendance rates, added more Advanced Placement (AP) classes and boosted music education in the county. But in recent years, he’s come under fire for overcrowded schools and being unresponsive to parents and teachers ideas to improve the district.
Reporter: “So you think he’s feeling the pressure to move on?”
Parent Stacey Holley: “Oh, definitely.”
Baltimore County isn’t the only school district looking for a new leader. Howard County and the Maryland School Board are, as well. Meanwhile, Hairston says he will reveal his future plans next week.
The school board says it will soon launch a search for Hairston’s replacement.