Lawsuit Against Baltimore County Public Schools Raises Questions For Superintendent Selection Process


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BALTIMORE COUNTY - A recent wrongful termination lawsuit filed against Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) by Shiria Anderson, the district's former Chief Human Resources Officer, could have significant implications for the selection of the next superintendent.

Anderson alleges that BCPS engaged in "unlawful acts" when the district informed her in December 2022 about her termination. Court documents reveal that Anderson's job was terminated following a series of disagreements with district leaders. Seeking compensatory and punitive damages, Anderson has requested a jury trial and other forms of monetary relief.

This lawsuit is important for two reasons. It involves prominent BCPS officials, including Superintendent Dr. Darryl Williams and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Myriam Yarbrough. Secondly, Dr. Williams, who announced his departure in January, is set to leave on June 30. Dr. Yarbrough is one of the four finalists being considered to succeed him. However, her involvement in the wrongful termination lawsuit has raised concerns among some community members.

In an interview with Project Baltimore, Lily Rowe, a former Baltimore County Board of Education member, expressed reservations about proceeding with the superintendent selection process without knowing the details of the lawsuit.

Rowe emphasized the need for transparency and understanding the potential impact of a superintendent who may be implicated in wrongful termination.

"What happens if you end up with a superintendent who ends up being considered somehow at fault for a wrongful termination?" Rowe told Project Baltimore. "If you have somebody who actually did wrongfully terminate someone, how is that going to affect the morale of the staff, and are we going to lose a whole bunch of staff?"

The lawsuit indicates that Anderson reported to both Dr. Williams and Dr. Yarbrough in 2021, discussing plans to send termination notices to three individuals who could not be fired because they were tenured. According to the suit, Williams' office directed Anderson to send the termination letters around a month later, citing the reasoning as "restructuring."

Anderson said she spoke with Williams to ensure that BCPS complied with labor regulations and that "no protected classes would be unlawfully targeted."

The suit states that "Williams accused Anderson of disobeying his instructions" in response to her inquiry.

Williams later created consulting positions for the employees in question to "ensure they were not being demoted," the filing states.

While the lawsuit does not explicitly specify Dr. Yarbrough's role in Anderson's alleged wrongful termination, it raises concerns that could be brought to light during a trial.

The school board is considering a vote on the new superintendent this week. Given the lawsuit's filing, evaluating potential implications on staff morale and retention is essential should a sitting superintendent be found responsible for wrongful termination.

The finalists' names for Baltimore County's next superintendent have not been officially released. Multiple sources within the board of education have confirmed that the finalists are Dr. Yarbrough, Dr. Robert Taylor, Dr. Kenny Rodrequez, and Dr. Jason Glass.

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