IRSD assistant superintendent named

SELBYVILLE — The Indian River School District has turned to neighboring Maryland for the district’s next assistant superintendent.

Karen T. Blannard, who has 20-plus years of administrative experience with Baltimore County Public Schools and the Maryland Department of Education, was approved as district assistant superintendent by the IRSD board of education Monday.

Karen Blannard

Ms. Blannard fills the vacancy that was created when Dr. Jack “Jay” Owens left his post as assistant superintendent to become superintendent July 1. This was following the retirement of Superintendent Mark Steele on June 30.

Ms. Blannard comes to Indian River having served as assistant superintendent/executive director of school support for Baltimore County Public Schools from 2010-20.

Prior to that, she was principal of Halstead Academy in Baltimore County from 2009-10; coordinator of professional development (an on-loan leadership position) with the Maryland State Department of Education from 2005-09; and principal at Logan Elementary School, Baltimore County, from 2001-05.

From 1986-2001, Ms. Blannard served as an assistant principal at the elementary and middle school levels and also as an elementary and middle school teacher.

“We are excited to welcome Ms. Karen Blannard to the IRSD team as our new assistant superintendent,” said Dr. Owens. “Ms. Blannard’s administrative experience with Baltimore County Public Schools and the Maryland Department of Education during the past 20 years will greatly benefit our efforts to provide top-flight educational services to our families. I look forward to working with Karen and have no doubt that her experience and expertise will be a wonderful asset to our students.”

“I look forward to beginning this new chapter in my professional career and to residing in Delaware with my husband,” Ms. Blannard said. “I am eager to visit IRSD’s schools and to meet their teams of hard-working educators. I want to thank the Board of Education for this opportunity and I am excited to collaborate with Dr. Owens, the administrative staff and the board to ensure that all students reach their fullest potential.”

Ms. Blannard holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary/early childhood PreK-8 education from College Misericordia and a master’s degree in education from McDaniel College. She has also completed postmaster’s work in administration and supervision at Towson University.

Board approval of Dr. Owens’ recommendation supporting Ms. Blannard from the candidate pool was not unanimous. The board vote was 7-2-1, with Derek Cathell, W. Scott Collins, James Fritz, Dr. Donald Hattier, James Hudson, Dr. Heather Statler and Leolga Wright casting approval. Charles Bireley and Gerald Peden cast “no” votes, and Rodney Layfield abstained.