A look at Hairston's 10 years in Baltimore County
From Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker:
It's not terribly common for a superintendent to last 10 years in today's education environment, and it's even less common at a large, complex system such as Baltimore County. But Joe Hairston has done exactly that, and today's print edition looks at his life and the reasons why he's remained in the job as long as he has. For one, he maintains an unusually placid demeanor, even during contentious episodes such as the recent standoff with teachers over the AIM curriculum program. For another, he expertly manages his relationship with the school board, perhaps too expertly according to those who say the board affords him a rubber stamp.
In one particularly interesting moment, Hairston argued that his job is more difficult than the one faced by Andres Alonso in Baltimore City. He had to be a reformer as well, he explained, but had to do so without ruffling too many feathers in a county where many folks liked the status quo just fine. What do you guys think? Whose job would you rather have?
Regardless what you make of Hairston, he has led a fascinating life. He starred on the great all-black football team at Maryland State (now UMES). He entered his field at a time when the vestiges of segregation remained but went on to become the first black superintendent at two major school systems. He preached data-driven accountability before it was the in thing. Because of his low-key nature, he hasn't received as much attention as some of his peers, but his story is worth thinking about if you're interested in the state of our schools.