The Maryland House Ways and Means Committee is reviewing a bill to create a selection panel for the PGCPS CEO search committee, a move that would include more stakeholders in the selection process.
Prince George’s County Public Schools launched the school system’s first CEO search since 2019 after Monica Goldson announced her planned retirement in January. Goldson was appointed interim CEO in July 2018 and became the permanent CEO in 2019.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is responsible for appointing the school system’s new CEO with the assistance of a state-appointed three-member search committee. The committee consists of one member of the state’s board of education selected by state superintendent Mohammed Choudhury and two county residents appointed by Gov. Wes Moore.
A Maryland General Assembly bill, HB0432, will strip the governor of the power to appoint two county residents and create a selection panel to vet prospective residents for the search committee.
The panel will include a representative selected from each of the following offices: the county executive, the chair of the PGCPS school board, the chair of the House delegation, the chair of the Senate delegation, the county delegation and the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association.
The Prince George’s County Educators’ Association praised the proposed measure in a letter to Alsobrooks.
“This process must include a search committee which consists of … representatives from your office, the county council, elected school board representatives, school system unions, relevant community organizations, and representatives from the County delegation,” the letter read.
State Del. Karen Toles, whose district includes parts of Prince George’s County, also supported the measure during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
“It is an important bill that will put more power back into the hands of Prince George’s County residents,” Toles said.
However, while the concept of expanding the CEO search to include more members had overwhelming support, the bill itself drew hesitancy from some.
District 2 board of education member Jonathan Briggs supported the idea of involving multiple stakeholders in the CEO search, but had questions about HB0432.
“I personally do not agree with the bill,” Briggs said. “I don’t think that it is a tool that is going to really get us towards more of what we want.”
Instead, Briggs proposed a more extensive outreach effort in the form of a grassroots campaign. He argued the more extensive the outreach effort is in the search, the more trust the community will have in the process.
“Making sure that everyone who is impacted by the outcomes of Prince George’s County Schools, namely the students, teachers and parents, feel bought into this process … is really important,” Briggs said.
Briggs also said involving more community members will lead to a more thorough vetting of candidates.
Ensuring the agenda of a prospective CEO aligns with the lessons students, teachers and parents learned from the COVID-19 pandemic will be crucial to selecting the right candidate, Briggs said.
Similarly, at-large school board member Curtis Valentine hoped the process would mimic that of selecting a new principal in Prince George’s County — where prospective principals meet with students, teachers and staff at the school. He suggested the school should lead the CEO search.
“I do believe that the school board should be leading the process of selecting a CEO,” Valentine said.
Despite Valentine and Briggs’ concerns, bill sponsor and district 25 state del. Nick Charles said the bill would bring together numerous stakeholders, which would benefit the community.
“You got everybody who has a dog in the fight,” Charles said.