A committee created by the Fairfax County School Board to keep it posted on the school system's community relations problems has endorsed Deputy Superintendent William J. Burkholder for school superintendent and Herman Howard, a high-ranking administrator, for the number-two job.
The Human Relations Advisory Committee's recommendation added to the mounting support within the school system for Burkholder to replace Superintendent Linton Deck Jr., who resigned last month under pressure from the board. Burkholder has been named acting superintendent effective Saturday and several board members have said he is their first choice to fill the job permanently.
School officials also said several groups have begun a push to put Howard, one of the school system's few black administrators, in the position of deputy superintendent of support services, the job that would be vacated by Burkholder.
The board urged Deck to resign last month because members said they were dissatisfied with his style of handling the school system.
"We would urge this board to employ a superintendent whose philosophy, administrative style and human relations acumen is in harmony with this board, its staff and the community," stated the Human Relations Advisory Committee in its annual report to the board.
The committee's recommendations came after harsh criticism of the board for ignoring much of the panel's work, which frequently involves issues affecting minority groups in the school system and the community.
Pat Blackwell, chairwoman of the panel, scolded the board for failing to respond to problems cited in last year's report. She also criticized members for appointing members to the panel who seldom attend meetings. The panel is composed of about 30 members nominated by school board members, staff and community organizations.
Board member Carmin Caputo agreed that the board frequently has ignored the committee's concerns. Board members and representatives of the committee said they will attempt to improve relations between the two groups this year.