Reporting Gigi Barnett
TOWSON. Md. (WJZ)—Dozens of applicants, months of interviews and now the Baltimore County school board has a new superintendent.
Gigi Barnett explains the new superintendent has several big goals after taking the top spot.
There was an across-the-board approval for the new superintendent of Baltimore County schools.
Dr. Dallas Dance takes over the state’s third-largest school district this summer. He comes to Baltimore from Houston and says the change in leadership has already begun.
“The whole point of my transition is figuring out, ‘What’s the Baltimore County story?’ I know already it’s a rich story,” Dance said.
After a six-month search, the board offered Dance the top spot last month. It comes with a four-year contract and $255,000 every year.
At 30, Dance is the county’s youngest superintendent in decades. School leaders say they considered his experience, not his age.
“Kurt Schmoke was state’s attorney in Baltimore City at 32.Teddy Roosevelt was senator at 23. Freeman Hrabowski was president of UMBC at 41. So, they’re our young people, and we thought he was a special one,” said Lawrence Schmidt, school board president.
Dance takes over school headquarters on July 1, one day after current superintendent Dr. Joe Hairston retires.
And challenges are looming.
Dance will inherit a district with overcrowded classrooms, a wide achievement gap among minority and low-income students and winning over a strong and vocal teachers’ union.
“We have to work together if we’re going to move this district forward. Our kids deserve nothing less. Our staff deserves nothing less, and our community expects that of us,” Dance said.
Another issue Dance will address is Baltimore City students crossing the county line to attend Baltimore County schools. Dance says he’s already reached out to city schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso about it.
Dance says he also wants to focus on low-performing schools.