This story was updated at 4:43 p.m. April 26, 2013.
by Jamie Anfenson-Comeau
Prince George’s officials are scrambling to determine who will fill the gap as the chief of the county school system following the interim superintendent’s announcement that he is resigning June 3.
Alvin Crawley was hired in August to replace William Hite Jr., who resigned in July to become the superintendent for the Philadelphia school system. Crawley’s contract was set to expire June 30.
“It is with mixed emotions that I render my letter of resignation,” Crawley said in a statement released April 25. “ ... I have enjoyed my tenure as interim Superintendent of Schools and appreciate the support of our Board, staff, parents, students, and members of the community. I am very proud of the accomplishments we have achieved during my tenure.”
Crawley did not return calls for comment Friday afternoon.
County officials were already preparing for changes in the county school system given new legislation that gives the county executive power to select the superintendent. When the legislation was initially proposed, the three finalists for the superintendent post, which included Crawley, withdrew their candidacy.
House Bill 1107, set to go into effect June 1, will give the county executive the power to appoint a new superintendent, now to be called chief executive officer, as well as the power to appoint three new members to the nine-member elected school board, with the Prince George’s County Council appointing a fourth additional member.
The county executive will also have the authority to appoint the chair and vice chair of the board.
Briant Coleman, school system spokesman, said an interim superintendent has not yet been decided and referred further questions regarding the selection process to Baker’s office.
Board chairwoman Verjeana Jacobs said the board learned of Crawley’s resignation immediately prior to a public meeting April 25.
Jacobs said she isn’t surprised by Crawley’s announcement, given the impending changes to the school system’s governance structure.
“He felt, with the transition, that it was best for him to step aside at this point,” Jacobs said.
On behalf of the board, Jacobs commended Crawley’s work.
“We appreciate the time he has spent with us. He’s done a stellar job, and we are grateful for all he has done,” she said.
In a statement released Friday, Baker said, “I respect Dr. Crawley and appreciate his work here; we wish him well in the future.”
Baker went on to say that his administration will work with the school board and all stakeholders throughout the transition and CEO selection process.
“I want to ensure parents, students, teachers and employees of Prince George’s County that I am dedicated to finding the best new leader for our public school system,” Baker added.
Under the new law, Baker also has the authority to appoint an interim CEO, although Baker’s education adviser Christian Rhodes said that in the past, the system has allowed members of the superintendent’s executive staff to jointly fill the role on a temporary basis.
Baker spokesman Scott Peterson said the county executive is committed to getting a new CEO in the door as soon as possible, “but he is not going to rush this process for the sake of expediency.”