Administrator Magazine
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This Month's Profile

Dr. Joe Hairston

February 2009

Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools

ON THE JOB: Since 2000. Hairston’s contract was extended in 2008 for another four years.

EDUCATION: Ed.D., Virginia Tech; M.A., American University; B.S., Maryland State University


Where he comes from: “My grandparents grew up without running water. My sons never lived without air conditioning and two-car garages. I am the link between those generations, and education was key to forging it.”top stat: Among large urban districts, bcps boasts the fourth-highest graduation rate in the nation and the highest rate for African-American males.

Baltimore’s boast: One of BCPS's most successful programs, avid, targets students in the “academic middle,” with untapped potential and little or no focus on higher ed. “We have literally turned around the lives of children who had no thoughts of attending college; 98 percent of these kids end up going.” The seven-year program costs $3 million.

CHALLENGE: Balancing the politics of education with the reality of teaching and learning.

Path not taken: After college, Hairston was drafted by the Washington Redskins. “The day they cut me from the team, I remember thinking how fortunate I was to have my college degree and have options,” says Hairston. “That was the beginning of my commitment to helping future generations of students leave high school with multiple options.”

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