The next superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) is Myriam Yarbrough, a home-grown educator, who began her educational career in 1996 as a chemistry teacher at Woodlawn High School and currently serves as BCPS deputy superintendent. Yarbrough will assume leadership over the 111,000-student school system and 20,000 teachers and staff. She will be the first permanently appointed woman superintendent.
The news was well received. When school chair Jane Lichter announced the board of education’s selection at the May 16 meeting in Towson, attendees broke out in cheers and gave Yarbrough a standing ovation. Lichter noted that Yarbrough has built strong relationships with staff and stakeholders and received 40 letters of support from community members.
In her remarks to the board, Yarbrough recalled that when she was a first-year teacher, BCPS was ranked as a top school system in the state. “It is my intention to work together with you, the community, our staff, all stakeholders, and our students first and foremost to get back to the top of the state and the nation,” she pledged. “You have my word.”
The needs and challenges of the students, staff and system are growing, Yarbrough continued. “But I believe in our boundless potential if we work together to meet the needs of the students and staff moving forward. We will improve and accelerate student learning.”
Known by many as an effective communicator, Yarbrough said she is committed to engaging stakeholders in “face to face, direct conversation.” She said, “I will empower your voices so that you are part of the problem solving.”
She thanked her boss, outgoing Superintendent Darryl Williams, who months after his appointment in 2019 was forced to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a ransomware attack, and complaints about his leadership style. He also had to work with a dysfunctional, less-than-supportive board. He announced in January that he would not seek another four-year contract.
It was Williams who recruited Yarbrough to work in Montgomery County Public Schools. After leaving BCPS for Montgomery County, Yarbrough served as principal of a middle school and high school. Earlier in her career, she also worked as a science department chairperson, assistant principal, and adjunct professor at McDaniel College.
Yarbrough returned to BCPS in 2020 and worked in several administrative roles, such as chief of organizational effectiveness, executive director for secondary schools in the western sector of the county, and director of school performance. She has been deputy superintendent since December 2021.
A resident of Prince George’s County, Yarbrough received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bowie State University and holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Maryland, College Park.
A series of public meetings designed to connect Yarbrough with parents and community members, and business, civic and other stakeholders are being scheduled prior to her assuming the job as superintendent.
The search for a new BCPS superintendent was an expedited process. McPherson and Jacobson, LLC, launched a nationwide search a superintendent on March 1. The search firm facilitated the recruitment process, which BCPS says incorporated input from hundreds of system staff, parents, students, and other stakeholders from community input meetings held over three days in March. Ultimately, there were 24 applicants from 15 states. Four finalists were announced in April and interviewed in May by the board and members of key stakeholder groups such as the student council, teacher and employee unions, and area education advisory councils.