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Published: Tuesday, 2/20/2007

Philadelphia man is board's choice for superintendent job

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo Board of Education tonight selected a former military officer over two longtime public school administrators, including its current interim superintendent, to lead the school system.

William Harner, a regional superintendent and special assistant to the chief executive of the Philadelphia School District, was named the top choice as superintendent by a 5-0 vote.

Hiring Mr. Harner is contingent on successfully negotiating an economic package.

In offering the job to Mr. Harner, the board passed over John Foley, its current interim superintendent who has been with the system for three decades, and Thomas Maher, a former superintendent who is now a statewide project director for the Florida Department of Education.

Mr. Harner is a regional superintendent and special assistant to the chief executive of the Philadelphia School District. He oversees 39 schools and is working on closing the district s $73 million budget deficit.

Mr. Harner s current base salary is $136,000, said Fernando Gallard, spokesman for the School District of Philadelphia.

After two decades in the Army ending in 1998 which included an assignment as an infantry battalion commander in his final two years in the Armed Forces Mr. Harner took a job as a high school principal in Hilton Head, S.C.

He was the superintendent of the 63,000-student Greenville County School District in Greenville, S.C., from 2000 to April, 2004, when school board members asked him to leave more than a year before the end of his contract.

Former Greenville school board member Crystal Ball O Connor said Mr. Harner was ousted by a majority of the board, despite the fact she felt the district s success was related to many of Mr. Harner s initiatives.

Mr. Harner was paid two months salary and benefits after his termination and he sacrificed the final year of his contract. His annual base salary was $163,532, district spokesman Oby Lyles said.

When he left Greenville, Mr. Harner took a job as director of secondary programs and middle school principal in the 5,500-student Gainesville, Ga. school district. He spent two years in Gainesville before moving to the Philadelphia job, according to his resume.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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