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New Superintendent to Create Accountability Office for School System

Renee Foose says she's establishing environment of transparency, efficiency in Howard County.

Transparency is one of the first orders of business at her new job, according to the new superintendent of the Howard County Public School System.

To gain what she called a “higher level of accountability” and a “higher level of service to schools,” according to the Howard County Times, Renee Foose, 45, is creating the office of accountability within the school system.

Through Aug. 2, the school system is seeking applicants for its new position of Chief Accountability Officer.

The officer will produce an annual accountability report and oversee applied research, program evaluation, student assessment, internal auditing operations and technology operations and support, according to the job description. The salary range is $105,536 to $192,548.

Brian Meshkin, a school board member who said he made a pitch for the position’s creation at a board meeting in 2011, wrote this week on his blog: “I’ve said many times, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. And in creating this new position and the associated re-organization, she's cutting headcount and payroll in Central Office. Doing more and spending less.  I continue to be so very impressed with our new superintendent.”

As Meshkin noted, Foose plans to shuffle staff positions, in addition to adding the accountability officer, to make the system more efficient.

Personnel adjustments will save the school system $20,000 annually, Foose told the Howard County Times, which reported the following shifts:

  • Accountability office created, staffed by chief accountability officer and coordinator for continuous improvement
  • Communications department consolidated to include print and TV in addition to public information.
  • Student services and special education departments to merge.

Foose comes to the Howard County Public School System after serving as deputy superintendent for Baltimore County schools and assistant superintendent in Montgomery County schools. The former has a department of research, accountability and assessment; the latter has an office of shared accountability.

In her entry plan outlining priorities for her first 90 days, Foose wrote: "The Howard County Public School System is viewed across Maryland and the nation as an innovative, high performing school district. However...many stakeholders feel academic achievement at all levels has reached a plateau, organizational alignment to newly mandated initiatives is unclear, technological innovation is desired, and a strong spirit of collaboration and transparency must be embraced."

She told The Baltimore Sun that the changes she's proposing would facilitate "transtioning the school system to a new level."

Jack July 27, 2012 at 05:57 PM
A local blogger has pointed out a Chief Accountability Officer is actually just an Ombudsman. I pointed out we already have an Ombudsman November 8, 2007 (#2007-068) Board Hires New Ombudsman; Dennison Second to Hold Position The Board of Education will introduce the second person to hold the position of Ombudsman for the Howard County Public School System at its 4 p.m. meeting today. Rosemarie Dennison accepted the Ombudsman position last week and began work on Tuesday, November 6. She will work 24 hours per week at an annual salary of $30,240. A member of the BOE has also pointed out we should all check the job description on the hcpss website. I must admit I have yet to do this but I believe there is a huge issue we have overlooked such as demanding an atmosphere of honesty from the hcpss without the spin of information they have provjded for years combined with an invitation to the public to provide oversight which will for once be considered and acted upon befor we hire someone at 100K-200K in this economy.
jam November 14, 2012 at 09:26 AM
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