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Interim superintendent's focus is stability

June 03, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

Considering the temporary nature of the interim superintendency to which she's been appointed, Linda Barkdoll said Monday she'll focus on stability rather than change while at the helm of the Washington County school system.

"I think the role of an interim superintendent is to not make any drastic changes," said Barkdoll, 49, who will hold the top post until a replacement for long-time schools Superintendent Wayne Gersen is named. "I think my primary goal is to maintain the continuity of all the good things that are happening in the school system."

The Washington County Board of Education announced Barkdoll's appointment in a news release Monday morning.

Stability is important, Barkdoll said. Should major change be needed to implement the school board's goals, however, Barkdoll said she is prepared to provide the necessary leadership.

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Barkdoll will assume the post June 16, a few days before Gersen leaves for his new job heading the Wappingers Central School District in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., said board President B. Marie Byers.

Former Washington County schools administrator John J. Hull has been named to temporarily fill Barkdoll's role as director of human resources, the board said.

Hull, who was with the school system for 38 years before retiring in 1990, spent the last 14 years on the job supervising employee relations and human resources.

Since his retirement, Hull has filled in as a substitute teacher, acting principal and elementary counselor.

Hull, 69, said he decided to fill in for Barkdoll because he finds the job interesting.

He said he had to resign a job representing the Washington County Association of Supervisors and Administrators to accept the post.

Barkdoll was asked to apply for the interim superintendent job because of her "vast experience" in the county's school system and credentials for superintendency in Maryland, Byers said.

"It was perfect that she was available and that she could assume this role," Byers said.

Barkdoll came to the school system in 1970.

She taught fourth and fifth grades, served as vice principal of Bester Elementary School and principal of Keedysville, Hancock and Smithsburg elementary schools before moving to the central office in 1988 to serve as supervisor of personnel.

She was promoted to director of human resources last year.

Barkdoll, who has a doctorate in educational leadership, will be the first woman to hold the top schools post in Washington County, Byers said.

Barkdoll said she sees the job as both an exciting challenge for herself and a means of maintaining stability in the school system during its transition to a new superintendent.

"I think when you're in educational administration, a career goal would be to be a superintendent," Barkdoll said.

She said she'll have to think about whether she would apply for the permanent position. "This gives me an opportunity to try it out, see what it feels like," she said.

Part of her decision will hinge on what the school board identifies as its criteria for a new superintendent, Barkdoll said.

The school board will begin its national search for a permanent replacement for Gersen this week, Byers said. Applications must be postmarked by July 11, and the board hopes to pick a finalist in October or November, she said.

To comply with state law, the person selected will be named acting superintendent until early 1998, she said. By law, the job becomes permanent on July 1, 1998, she said.

Gersen, 50, announced in April that he was leaving the Washington County school system.

He assumed the post in 1987.

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