The Tulsa school superintendent, a former Hartford, Conn., superintendent, a school administrator in Howard County and a high-ranking Baltimore City school official are among the six finalists to become the new schools chief in Prince George's County.
The names of four of the finalists were learned after all six were in town over the weekend for closed-door interviews with the county's 29-member search committee. The committee, which includes four Board of Education members and 25 other county residents, is scheduled to narrow the list and present two or three candidates' names to the full school board later this week.
Among those interviewed were John Thompson, superintendent of Tulsa schools; Patricia A. Daniel, former superintendent of Hartford schools; Jacqueline Brown, a Howard County school administrator whose duties include overseeing minority student achievement; and Roger Reese, chief financial officer of Baltimore City schools, according to sources close to the search.
Thompson and Reese declined to comment when asked about their interviews with the Prince George's search committee, and Daniel could not be reached.
The names of the two other candidates could not be learned. The search committee met with each candidate for about an hour in a hotel conference room.
School board and committee members declined to comment about the candidates. Board member Kenneth E. Johnson (Mitchellville) said releasing the names would compromise the selection process because most of the candidates have asked that their names not be revealed until a final selection is made.
But Johnson said the board is happy with the list of finalists it received from Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, the Glenview, Ill.-based firm that is heading the search. Roger Garvelink, a representative of the firm who is directing the Prince George's effort, was on hand over the weekend but declined to comment.
The school board has less than a month to meet the July 1 deadline to find a replacement for Jerome Clark, who will retire as superintendent later this month after a four-year stint in the top job. Although two current Prince George's school officials have applied for the job, board members said they almost certainly will select someone from outside the 128,000-student system.
Thompson was named Tulsa's superintendent in November 1993. He was a finalist for the Tampa schools top job in 1996 but eventually withdrew to remain with the 42,000-student Tulsa system.
Thompson was criticized last year by Oklahoma Gov. Frank A. Keating (R), who said there had been a lack of change and reform in the district. Thompson's staff responded by compiling a list of his accomplishments, including: his successful push to pass a $94.5 million school bond issue in 1996 that provided funding for new computers, textbooks and other classroom resources; expansion of Advanced Placement courses in high school, an early childhood program and a large Junior ROTC program; and the development of a teacher training program.
Daniel was the superintendent in Hartford for 14 months before she was forced to resign in May 1998 by the board of trustees that is running the system under the first state takeover of a Connecticut school district. Hartford, which has 24,000 students, is that state's largest and lowest-performing district.
News accounts say Daniel clashed with the trustees by opposing charter schools and site-based management, and the trustees criticized what they said was her lack of long-range planning to fix the schools and improve budget management.
Before going to Hartford, Daniel was superintendent in East Providence, R.I., where she sparred with unionized employees over reform efforts. She also has worked in Baltimore City schools as the assistant superintendent in charge of school-business partnerships.
Before going to Howard County, Brown had been a school administrator in Prince George's. She lives in Mitchellville.
Reese was appointed Baltimore City schools' chief financial officer on Jan. 1, 1998. Baltimore City and Prince George's have the state's highest percentages of uncertified teachers and score lowest on state tests.
Before going to Baltimore, Reese was the comptroller for the Atlanta public schools, where he managed a $700 million annual budget. The Prince George's budget is nearly $900 million.