The Howard County Board of Education selected Interim Superintendent Michael J. Martirano as the permanent superintendent for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) during the regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Following the announcement, Board Chairman Cynthia Vaillancourt and Martirano signed a letter of intent to begin the negotiation process leading to a contract that will extend from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2022.

In May, the board appointed Martirano as interim superintendent for a one-year term extending through June 30, 2018. In August, it began the process of selecting a permanent superintendent and solicited stakeholder input via an online survey, community forums, public hearings, and conversations with county and community leaders. The majority of the community feedback, including a large majority of the 2,200 survey responses, expressed a preference for retaining Martirano, with the remainder identifying integrity, strong communication skills and a focus on the whole child as the most desirable characteristics for a new superintendent.

“Dr. Martirano exemplifies the qualities our community values most in a superintendent,” said Vaillancourt. “Under his leadership, the school system has made significant strides over the last seven months in rebuilding community trust and strengthening school system management. He has demonstrated the ability, and willingness, to tackle even the thorniest challenges through a rare combination of diplomacy, innovation, persistence and grace.”

“I am honored and humbled by this vote of confidence, and deeply grateful for the warm welcome and strong support I have received from staff and community members throughout the county,” said Martirano. “I am confident that our renewed spirit of goodwill and collaboration will buoy our efforts and lead to even greater achievements over the months ahead. This is an exciting opportunity to build an even brighter future for Howard County students and become a premier school system in the nation.”

During Martirano’s tenure, HCPSS has re-established collaborative relations with state and county governments, leading to the restoration of $9.6 million in state capital funding and a commitment to accelerate the 13th county high school by two years.

In addition, an organizational restructuring has resulted in a flatter, more responsive central office that is more closely aligned to system priorities. He successfully navigated the school system through an arduous redistricting process, while mitigating community disruption and expanding educational program innovations.