The Greater Hagerstown Committee, a group of Washington County's top business leaders who say they want the best possible person to fill the position of county school superintendent, have offered to help in the search process. It's an offer the school board should accept, for several reasons.
The board originally announced that it might take up to a year to fill the post, but then decided to shorten the process because it wanted the new superintendent to go through the next budget cycle. We're well acquainted with short deadlines here at Herald-Mail. We've found that the less time you have to do a project, the more people you need to ensure that in your haste, you haven't made any major mistakes.
Picking the wrong superintendent (or even a weak one) would be disastrous for this county. For much of his time here, Superintendent Wayne Gersen dealt with a teachers' association president whose stated intention was to try cooperation instead of confrontation. That conciliatory attitude didn't bring cooperation, but a slide in teacher wages as compared to other counties. The next superintendent needs good negotiating skills to deal with a teachers' group sure to be more militant.