Kevin Hobbs, a top administrator in the Wake County, N.C., public schools, appeared on the verge of becoming the new deputy superintendent in Baltimore County schools Tuesday night before the school board voted 6-6 against the appointment because of a certification issue.
Hobbs, who is new superintendent Dallas Dance's pick for the job, is expected to get the appointment July 10 when the board next meets.
But board members said they wanted to wait until Hobbs has completed a six-week course. "I would urge the board not to approve this. The gentleman is not qualified," said board member Michael Collins. "I think it is offensive to everyone in the system. It sends the wrong message."
Collins said he would support Hobbs after he has completed the course. Board president Lawrence Schmidt said members did not vote against Hobbs "because they don't like him."
The certification is a sensitive topic for the school board, which was criticized because it had to seek a waiver from the Maryland State Department of Education to allow Dance to become the new superintendent. Dance did not have enough teaching experience to be qualified in Maryland and was granted an exception by interim state Superintendent Bernard J. Sadusky.
Dance said Hobbs is currently qualified to take the position, but that an administrative license or certification in Maryland would lapse June 30. On July 1, Hobbs will complete the course and have his certification renewed, Dance said in an interview. Hobbs worked for at least 16 years in Montgomery County schools as an English teacher, assistant principal and principal.
Dance and Hobbs worked together in Houston, where Dance was head of middle schools and Hobbs was the assistant superintendent for leadership development. Hobbs left Houston for a central area superintendent position in the Wake County public school system.
Dance said he is smart and has gotten good reviews from students, teachers and administrators he has taught or worked with.
Hobbs would be paid $185,000. The current deputy, Renee Foose, earns $218,000 and is leaving at the end of the month to become superintendent in Howard County.
Dance said Hobbs is "highly regarded around the state" and has "deep ties" in Maryland. Dance said he earned a master's degree at Bowie State University and is working on a doctorate in education at University of Maryland, College Park.