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Schmidt Sought Second Term to Ease Dance's Transition

The Board of Education president was elected to his second term earlier this month.

Recently re-elected Board of Education President Larry Schmidt chose to run for a second term to help Superintendent S. Dallas Dance adjust to the school system.

"My goal is to make the new superintendent's first year as smooth and seamless as it can be," said Schmidt, who cited new schools construction, and curriculum changes as among the issues facing Dance.

Schmidt, who was appointed to the board on July 1, 2009, is now starting the fourth year of his five-year term.

"With a new superintendent, there's already a lot of change going on," Schmidt said. "It made sense for the board to have continuity."

Schmidt, who represents the 3rd councilmanic district, was at a July 10 board meeting. James Coleman, the 4th councilmanic district representative, was the only board member to vote against him in the uncontested race.

Coleman could not be reached for comment regarding the reasoning behind his vote.

"We might not always agree, but I do think every member of the board has the right intentions," Schmidt said.

The Board of Education president said he first ran for office in 2011 after growing concerned about the length of time former Superintendent Joe Hairston served in his position.

"The average tenure for a superintendent is under four years," Schmidt said. "[Hairston] was there for 12."

Dance has a four-year contract expiring on June 30, 2016 but he told Patch earlier this month that he was interested in serving a longer term.

Schmidt acknowledged that some of Hairston's critics—as the —may have been racially motivated but he was not aware of any board member having that sentiment.

"Are there racist people in Baltimore County? I'm sure there are," Schimdt said. "But not from the Board of Education. Not to my knowledge."

Dance, who is also African-American, that he doesn't consider racism an issue.

Schmidt praised some of Hairston's work as superintendent and hopes Dance will take the school system to the next level.

"We're not a failing system that needs a radical change," he said. "[Hairston] left the system in a very good place. Hopefully Dallas can make it a great place."

Schmidt said he hasn't thought about running for a third term as president.

"Maybe then it'll be time for someone else to take a leadership role," he said.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bill Howard July 21, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Let us hope Baltimore County Schools finally become more responsive to parent concerns. I hope some of the sorry state of certain magnet schools is fixed as well.

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