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Baltimore County School Superintendent Explains Why He’s Stepping Down

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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Baltimore County’s school superintendent says he’s stepping down. Now amid much speculation, he explains why.

Gigi Barnett has more on the next step for Dr. Joe Hairston.

“Twelve years,” Hairston said, “that’s pretty good for anyone.”

And with that, there’s a job opening at Baltimore County’s School Board headquarters.

It’s the district’s top spot. After 12 years at the helm, superintendent Dr. Joe Hairston told a group of supporters and a slew of television cameras that this is the right time to leave.

“I like to go out on top,” Hairston said.

Hairston touted his academic achievements among students, making the county’s high schools some of the top in the nation. But over the years, Hairston has come under fire from parents and teachers who say he didn’t respond to their ideas of improvement, and overcrowding still blocks the halls at many of the district’s schools.

Hairston insists that he isn’t a lame duck superintendent and will work until his last day on June 30.

“Listen. This is not a wake, and my board members remind me of that all the time. They’re going to hold me accountable,” Hairston said.

School Board president Lawrence Schmidt says Hairston called him a few weeks ago about his decision to step down. Schmidt says an early announcement is what the board wanted.

“We knew the future of Dr. Hairston and the contract situation was something we wanted to get our arms around quickly as we could because if it became necessary to find another superintendent it was going to take a while,” Schmidt said.

When the board finds that successor, Hairston has words of wisdom.

“You have to understand that your decisions are going to be decisions that some people will support. And some people will not accept,” Hairston said.

The search for Hairston’s replacement has already begun. On Tuesday, the School Board formed a committee to find a new superintendent.

Hairston turns 65 next year. He says he may go into education consulting.

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