The Howard County Board of Education has chosen its next school leader. He’s a familiar face.

Acting Superintendent Bill Barnes will drop the “acting” title on July 1 and become the school system’s permanent superintendent, School Board Chair Jen Mallo announced during the board’s Thursday afternoon session.

“I’m certainly honored and even more so humbled to be continuing in this role to serve our students, staff, families and our community,” Barnes, 52, said Thursday.

Barnes, who will become the school district’s eighth superintendent, will oversee 78 schools and some 57,000 students.

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“As we begin to think about our next four years together, I want to challenge each of us to think of this question: What kind of school system are we striving to become?” Barnes asked.

The offer is pending approval by State Superintendent of Schools Carey Wright and contract negotiations. An application listed the annual salary for the four-year term beginning at $276,000.

“At his core, Mr. Barnes believes in the potential for greatness of Howard County students and for the Howard County School System,” Mallo said. “The board looks forward to supporting his efforts to make this a reality.”

Barnes, who took the helm of the school system after Superintendent Michael J. Martirano retired Jan. 10, was hired in 2008 to be the district’s coordinator of secondary mathematics. He became the director of the secondary and pre-K-12 curricular program in 2015, then the school system’s chief academic officer in 2017. He previously taught high school math.

Barnes received National Board Certification as a teacher and got the Maryland Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching — the highest award bestowed on a mathematics teacher in Maryland, according to a Thursday news release.

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The board selected McPherson & Jacobson LLC to assist with a national search for the new superintendent. The search garnered over 30 candidates, Mallo said, and the firm recommended six to advance to the next stage.

From there, the candidates were whittled down to three and then two. Board members deliberated and settled on Barnes.

“We look forward to his commitment to change in instructional leadership as well as his ability to innovate and fulfill the promise of the Blueprint for Education,” Mallo said.

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