The Baltimore County school board has narrowed the superintendent search to four finalists:

  • Myriam Yarbrough, Baltimore County’s deputy superintendent
  • Robert Taylor, a former North Carolina deputy state superintendent
  • Kenny Rodrequez, superintendent of Grand View Consolidated School District No. 4 in Missouri
  • Jason Glass, a commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Education

WBAL-TV first reported the finalists, and multiple sources close to the search confirmed with The Banner that the four are in the running to replace Superintendent Darryl Williams. A spokesperson for the school system declined to comment.

The board hired the firm McPherson and Jacobson LLC to conduct the search. The school system stated last month the firm recommended 24 candidates from 15 states. Interviews were held this week, and the board is expected to announce its selection this month. A superintendent contract has to be in place by July 1.

Consultants with the firm held input sessions in March to hear what stakeholders — like parents, school staff and students — wanted to see in the new superintendent. One of the common traits families said they wanted was a person who already knows the system. Of the final four, Yarbrough is the only one who currently works for Baltimore County’s school system.

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Yarbrough was named in a lawsuit filed in April by the former chief of human resources, Shiria Anderson, who is accusing the school system of wrongful termination.

The school system declined an interview request for Yarbrough.

Before she became deputy superintendent in December 2021, Yarbrough was the system’s chief of organizational effectiveness, executive director for secondary schools in the west zone and director of school performance. She was also a science department chairperson, assistant principal, middle and high school principal and adjunct professor at McDaniel College. She spent much of her career in Montgomery County Public Schools.

Danita Tolson, president of the Baltimore County NAACP, said she supports Yarbrough. Having someone who not only knows the system but has teaching experience goes a long way and gives her an advantage, she said. She’d have students’ best interest at heart, especially kids of color, Tolson added.

If Yarbrough is selected, Tolson said it’s important for the school community to “give the sister a chance” and offer their support. She said she’s seen other minority candidates brought in and “after a certain time, they get rid of them. This is a pattern, so the pattern has to stop.”

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Ryan Coleman, president of the Randallstown NAACP, didn’t pick a favorite, but said his branch would work with whoever is selected. He was more concerned about the search timeline. It started in January, and Coleman said it felt rushed. It was his hope the board would select an interim superintendent and spend a year finding a permanent placement.

Coleman said he hopes the board picks the best person for the children and the candidate with the best track record.

Taylor, one of the three other finalists, was selected to be Mississippi’s state schools superintendent in November. However, Mississippi’s Republican-led Senate voted against his confirmation in March. Democrats speculated that he was rejected at least partly because he is Black.

Before then, he had been the deputy state superintendent for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, starting in 2021. He was previously the superintendent of Bladen County Schools in North Carolina for nine years and spent eight years as assistant superintendent at Clinton City Schools in the same state.

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Rodrequez, the candidate from Missouri, has been the head of his district since 2016. He also served as the system’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. He was the director of secondary schools in Kansas City Public Schools from 2012 to 2014 and spent 10 years in Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma as a teacher, principal and director of innovative schools.

Glass, the final candidate, has been at the Kentucky Department of Education since 2020. Before then, he was the superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools in Colorado for three years, superintendent of Eagle County School District in the same state for four years, and the director of education at Iowa Department of Education for over two years.

A small group of Republican legislators in Kentucky have been critical of Glass because he did not rescind state guidance to school systems that encouraged teachers to use transgender students’ preferred names and pronouns.

Some Republican legislators there have threatened to require the appointment of the state school superintendent to be approved by the Senate.

A previous version of this article misstated Robert Taylor’s title. He is no longer a deputy superintendent with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

kristen.griffith@thebaltimorebanner.com