Dr. Hanlin reappointed schools Superintendent

Dr. Donna Hanlin was reappointed Superintendent by the school board on Feb. 11.

The seven members of the Wicomico County Board of Education have unanimously reappointed Dr. Donna C. Hanlin to a second four-year term as schools Superintendent.

The reappointment took place during the open school board session held Feb. 11.

Hanlin’s term was set to expire July 1 and the school board was required to approve a name by March 1. The county’s school system has seen significant growth since Hanlin took over in 2016.

The system has progressed in meeting goals outlined in her Imagine 2022 vision plan, including increasing high school graduation rates, improving pupils’ Kindergarten readiness and retaining teachers.

Hanlin, 63, a Salisbury native, is both a graduate and former Principal of James M. Bennett High School and previously worked as an administrator in the Wicomico school system.

After 26 years in Wicomico schools, she moved to Hagerstown, Md., where she was a supervisor of Special Education, director of Elementary Education, Assistant Superintendent, and Associate Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer.

Student discipline problems and a string of criminal actions involving school staff members have placed unwanted attention on problems that distract from Hanlin’s strategic plan. 

Adding “there is still a lot of work to be done,” Hanlin said she wanted another term to continue her efforts.

“Together we have made great progress, but we still have work to do to accomplish the goals established in Imagine 2022 to benefit our students and our community,” she said. “I am excited to see what can be accomplished in Wicomico Public Schools in the future.”

Last week, Hanlin thanked the school board members for their support and confidence in her leadership. “I have a talented staff that surrounds me,” she said. “You cannot do this job by yourself.

“I do believe we are making good progress. Yes, there have been some bumps in the road, but we weather them and come out stronger.”

Hanlin cited strong partnerships with the Greater Salisbury Committee, the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and other community groups as helping improve public support for the school system.

The leaders of the Chamber and GSC attended the meeting to show their support.

Chamber President and CEO Bill Chambers, himself a former school board president in Calvert County, praised Hanlin. “We are fortunate to have one of the top education leaders in the entire United States,” he told board members.

GSC President and CEO Mike Dunn, a product of the Wicomico school system, offered even more praise.

“This is the best superintendent that we have had in a generation,” Dunn said. “Leadership is not something to be taken for granted. These last couple of months have shown how important leadership is.”

School board Vice President Gene Malone — who noted that he was appointed to the Board of Education on the very same day that Hanlin began her post nearly four years ago — saluted Hanlin’s publicly aired strategic plans with setting both an agenda and direction for the school system.

“You have to do the little things right each day to get incremental improvement and I think Dr. Hanlin has led her team and the board has supported her in doing those things,” Malone said.

The state Department of Education’s 2018 Professional Salary Schedule reports Wicomico’s salary for its Superintendent at $185,658 annually. 

A graduate of Purdue University in Indiana, Hanlin earned a master’s degree in Education from Salisbury University and doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Maryland, College Park.

She and her husband, David, have four children, Michael, Cameron, Jessica and Ellery.

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