picks one of its own
to be the next superintendent
doubtful that the public will ever be told how wide a search for
a superintendent the Brandywine School District conducted, but
it turns out that it did not have to leave its own turf to find
The school board
voted unanimously at its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 24 to
designate Mark Holodick, principal of Concord High School, as
the sole finalist for the job. Not only is he principal of one
of the district's three high schools, he also is a Concord
"We believe you
will agree that Dr. Holodick presents an outstanding match for
our district and our community," board president Debra Heffernan
said, reading a prepared statement after the vote was taken.
She maintained to
the end the veil of secrecy in which the selection process was
draped, asking for a motion to
"approve the decision we made
in executive session" and not revealing the successful
candidate's identity, or even what the vote was about, although
its outcome was assured. Heffernan earlier had refused to
disclose how many candidates were being considered.
Board member Ralph
Ackerman lauded his colleagues for having selected one of its
own to be the district's top administrator. Doing so, he said,
"proves that Brandywine does produce quality graduates who go on
to do great things."
that, although Holodick "is well known in our district," the
public will have opportunity "to get to know him better." She
did not explain in what venue that will happen.
Next step, she
explained, will be negotiation of an employment contract --
which will include his starting salary and other terms -- after
which the board will formally vote at a public meeting to hire
him. He is expected to take the position in October, she said.
described Holodick, who attended the board's executive session
but was not present at the public portion of
meeting, as someone
who "will stay with us for a long time." Holodick told Delaforum
later that he "intends to be around for a long time."
Jim Scanlon, who came to Brandywine from a job in Pennsylvania
and remained two-and-a-half years until he claimed that Delaware
education law does not provide education administrators with
sufficient flexibility and resigned to become superintendent of
the West Chester, Pa., district. Scanlon's predecessor, Bruce
Harter, came from Florida and left after five years for a job in
California after having interviewed in at least two other
districts, including Christina in Delaware. Circumstances which
led to his resignation from Brandywine never became public.
Harter's predecessor, Joseph DeJohn, was advanced from principal
of P.S. du Pont Intermediate School and resigned under fire
during an extensive public controversy.
Holodick and his family live in the district, Olivia
Johnson-Harris said he is well positioned "to move our vision
Board member Joseph
Brumskill struck something of a discordant note when he
disclosed he initially had "great concern and reservation" about
appointing Holodick. "I had reservations, [but] now they're
gone," Brumskill said, adding that he intends "to work with him
and support him."
Five of the seven
board members were present at the meeting. However, statements
praising Holodick from Patricia Hearn and Mark Huxoll were read.
from Concord in 1989, Holodick earned his undergraduate degree
at West Virginia Wesleyan. His doctorate in education is from
the University of Delaware. He began his teaching career at
Gunning Bedford Middle School. He taught at Talley Middle and
Concord before becoming principal at Delmar (Del.) Middle and
High Schools. He returned to the Brandywine district as
Concord's assistant principal and was appointed principal there
three years ago.
He currently is a member of Brandywine's labor negotiations and
alternative compensation committees. He served for seven years
on the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association's board of
directors, including holding its chairmanship.
Holodick and his
wife, Angela, have three children. The oldest, Taylor, attends
Claymont Middle; Rosie and Lily are pre-school age. Angela
Holodick previously taught at Delmar and for a year at Harlan
"Dr. Holodick also
has a high level of experience working within the confines of
the Delaware educational finance system," Heffernan said.
search was conducted by the University of Delaware's Institute
for Public Administration. James Flynn, of the institute, and
"two anonymous retired Delaware superintendents" used results of
an online survey and focus-group discussion about qualities the
public would like to see in a superintendent as "a comparison
point" when reviewing applications, Heffernan said.
retired former superintendent of the Cape Henlopen School
District in Sussex County has been serving as Brandywine's