HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano organizes the HCPSS Central Office in order to promote equity, improve efficiencies, and ensure academic excellence for all students. The arrangement provides a leadership model that fosters cross and vertical collaboration and opens lines of communication at all levels throughout the school system. With a focus on instruction as a birth-through-graduation continuum, the new structure better positions the school system to support schools and communities, improve responsiveness to all stakeholders, and enhance transparency.
Dr. Michael J. Martirano, Superintendent
Dr. Michael J. Martirano was named superintendent for the Howard County Public School System in July 2018 after serving as interim superintendent since May 2017. He considers himself a teacher first and foremost and believes children must be at the center of all decision-making.
Superitendent Martirano receives information and guidance from the Superintendent’s Cabinet. Members of the Cabinet include:
Dr. Karalee Turner-Little, Deputy SuperintendentKaralee Turner-Little oversees the coordination of Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, grants, policy, strategy/data privacy, assessment, research/evaluation, technology, and serves as a liaison to the Board of Education. Turner-Little has been an educator for more than 30 years, serving in school-based and central office leadership roles in four diverse school systems: HCPSS, Montgomery County Public Schools, Md., Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools, N.C., and Lexington City Public Schools, N.C. Recent leadership roles include Executive Director to the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Affairs.
J. Stephen Cowles, General CounselJ. Stephen Cowles oversees all legal matters, legislative services and Public Information Act request fulfillment. He has been a practicing attorney since 1994 and worked at Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) between September 2003 and March 2022. Initially hired as a special education counsel at BCPS, he later served as the deputy general counsel and represented the Superintendent and the school system in matters related to employment law, civil rights law, and student matters. He also oversaw the resolution of special education due process and mediation complaints.
Judith Jones, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Judith Jones oversees the HCPSS Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Ms. Jones has more than 30 years in education. Before joining HCPSS, she held leadership positions in Carroll County Public Schools, including Equity and Inclusion Officer, Supervisor of Equity and Community Outreach and Administrator. Her school career started in Baltimore City Public Schools where she taught for over 10 years and held the position of Academic Dean.
William Barnes, Chief Academic OfficerWilliam Barnes oversees shared accountability, curriculum and instruction, special education, and student services. Barnes previously served at HCPSS as the Director of Secondary and Pre-K–12 Curricular Programs, and as Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics. He also was a Team Leader and Teacher in Baltimore County schools.
Dr. Anissa Dennis, Chief School Management and Instructional Leadership OfficerAnissa Dennis oversees a vertical educational delivery model that encompasses preschool through Grade 12. Dennis most recently served as HCPSS’ Chief Operating Officer, following roles of Administrative Director of Middle Schools and Coordinator of Leadership Development. Before joining HCPSS, she held leadership positions at Baltimore County Public Schools, which included Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal and Director of Professional Development.
David Larner, Chief Human Resources and Professional Development OfficerDavid Larner oversees human resources, leadership development, and teacher and paraprofessional development. Larner has been with HCPSS for more than 20 years, most recently serving as Performance, Equity and Community Response Director for Area 2 schools. Previously he was Administrative Director, Principal at Clemens Crossing Elementary, Assistant Principal at Hammond Elementary, and Instructional Team Leader and Teacher at Lisbon Elementary and Laurel Woods Elementary.
Jahantab Siddiqui, Chief Administrative OfficerJahantab Siddiqui oversees communications, workforce engagement and community/government relations, as well as budget, accounting and payroll. Siddiqui most recently was the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Howard County Executive; served previously in communications, budget and legislative roles for Howard and Montgomery counties and other organizations; and was a Special Assistant to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski.
Patrick Saunderson, Community Superintendent, Birth–Grade 12Patrick Saunderson oversees the Area 1 regional cluster of elementary, middle and high schools. Most recently, Saunderson was Principal of Reservoir High School. During his 25 years at HCPSS, he served as Principal at Marriotts Ridge High School and Lime Kiln Middle School, Assistant Principal at Wilde Lake High School, and Teacher at Atholton High School.
Jennifer Robinson, Community Superintendent, Birth–Grade 12
Jennifer Robinson oversees the Area 2 regional cluster of elementary, middle, and high schools. Throughout her 24 years in HCPSS, she has been a Performance, Equity, and Community Response Director, teacher at Long Reach High School, Special Education Instructional Facilitator for High Schools, Coordinator of Alternative Education Programs (K-12), Assistant Principal and Acting Principal at Centennial High School, Principal at Pataspco Middle School and Principal at Lake Elkhorn Middle School. Prior to joining HCPSS, Robinson was a teacher for Baltimore County Public Schools.
Dr. Kendra Johnson, Community Superintendent, Birth–Grade 12Kendra Johnson oversees the Area 3 regional cluster of elementary, middle and high schools. Johnson comes to HCPSS from Montclair Public Schools in New Jersey, where she served as Superintendent. She has more than 23 years of education experience in Maryland, New Jersey and Washington State school districts, including but not limited to as a Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Title 1 Officer, Instructional Director, Chief Academic Officer, Assistant Superintendent for Equity, Curriculum and Instruction and Superintendent.
Justin Benedict, Executive Director Information Technology
Justin Benedict oversees the school system’s information technology teams including enterprise applications, infrastructure, cyber security and business and project management teams. Prior to joining HCPSS, he served in leadership roles in the Department of Technology at Baltimore County Public Schools and in private sector companies.
Ebony Langford-Brown, Executive Director Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
Ebony Langford-Brown oversees vertically articulated curriculum and instruction that encompasses preschool through Grade 12. Langford-Brown most recently served as HCPSS’ Administrative Director of Elementary Schools. Before joining HCPSS, she held leadership positions in Montgomery County Public Schools, which included Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal and Director of Elementary Instruction and Achievement.
James LeMon, Executive Director of Community, Parent and School OutreachJames LeMon provides leadership and support to HCPSS communities, parents and schools. LeMon most recently was the Principal at Wilde Lake High School, after serving as Assistant Principal and Teacher at several HCPSS schools. Prior to his education career, he held a variety of roles, including as a Social Worker, Family Therapist, Basketball Coach and Juvenile Probation Officer.
Dr. Terri Savage, Executive Director of Special EducationTerri Savage oversees the HCPSS Department of Special Education. Over the past 25 years, she has served students and families in four Maryland counties, including St. Mary’s, Prince George’s and Montgomery before joining HCPSS. Previously, she was an elementary special educator, high school special education team leader, a staff development specialist, K-12 curriculum supervisor for specially designed instruction, and a special education instructional facilitator and coordinator.
Dr. Caroline Walker, Executive Director of Program Innovation & Student Well-Being
Dr. Caroline Walker supports the Division of Academics by overseeing the Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being, which includes cross-cutting programs such as Career and Technical Education, dual enrollment and digital education, as well as student services programs such as school counseling and health services. Prior to serving in this role, Dr. Walker was Director of Curricular Programs, Coordinator of Academic Intervention and Title I, Title I Resource Teacher, special educator, and social studies teacher. Prior to HCPSS, she worked in public and private schools in New York and Maryland.
Justin FitzGerald, Director of Schools
Justin FitzGerald supports the Community Superintendent in overseeing the Area 1 regional cluster of elementary, middle and high schools. Most recently, FitzGerald was principal at Guilford Elementary School. He previously worked in Prince George’s County Public Schools as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Now entering his 26th year working in education, he currently serves as a college supervisor for McDaniel College, in which he supervises aspiring graduate-level administration educators.
Jonathan Davis, Director of Schools
Jonathan Davis supports the Community Superintendent in overseeing the Area 2 regional cluster of elementary, middle and high schools. Mr. Davis has worked in the Howard County Public Schools for 30 years. During the last 18 years, he served as principal at Swansfield, Bollman Bridge, Guilford and Cradlerock elementary schools. Prior to those roles, he was an elementary school teacher and later served as assistant principal at Phelps Luck Elementary School.
David Burton, Director of Schools
David Burton supports the Community Superintendent in overseeing the Area 3 regional cluster of elementary, middle and high schools. Mr. Burton’s educational career includes service as principal of Glenelg High School and Long Reach High School. Before joining HCPSS, he held various leadership positions with Prince George’s County Public Schools, including middle school science teacher, assistant principal, and high school principal.
Brian Bassett, Director of Communications and Engagement
Brian Bassett oversees communications and engagement efforts for the school system. For more than 23 years, he has developed and implemented strategic initiatives to ensure all stakeholders are informed of issues important to them and able to be engaged in the educational process. He also oversees media relations.
Timothy Guy, Director of Assessment and Reporting
Timothy Guy oversees assessment, state reporting and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Guy previously served in HCPSS as the Coordinator of Assessment, Facilitator of Staff Communications, Facilitator of eLearning and a science teacher at Mount View Middle School. Before coming to HCPSS, he also was a high school mathematics teacher in Anne Arundel County schools.
Kerrie Wagaman RN, MSN, BSN, NCSN, Director of Health Services
Kerrie Wagaman oversees the office of school health services that strives to improve the health and well-being of children and in some cases the whole family and broader community. Wagaman has been in this position since joining the Howard County Public School System in 2014. Prior to joining HCPSS, Wagaman was a school nurse in the Carroll County Public School System for seven years. and a charge nurse in Labor and Delivery for nine years for the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.