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HCPSS Executive Leadership Team

HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano has reorganized Central Office in order to promote equity, improve efficiencies, and ensure academic excellence for all students.

The new organization provides a flatter 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 parents/guardians, and enhance transparency.
Dr Martirano talking to a classroom of students.

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. Learn more about the Superintendent →

Karalee Turner-Little, Deputy Superintendent

Karalee Turner-Little oversees the Office of the Superintendent and the Office of Grants, Policy and Strategy, and serves as a liaison to the Board of Education, leading systemic processes, grants and policy management. Turner-Little has been an educator for 27 years, serving in leadership roles in 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.

Kevin Gilbert, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Kevin Gilbert oversees the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion principles throughout the educational program and school system culture. Gilbert’s previous leadership roles include Teacher Leadership and Special Projects Coordinator at Clinton Public Schools, Miss., and President of the Mississippi Association of Educators. He also served as Assistant Principal and Teacher with the Clinton Public Schools, Rankin County School District and Hinds County School District, all in Mississippi.

Mark Blom, General Counsel

Mark Blom oversees all legal matters, legislative services and Public Information Act request fulfillment. Blom re-joins HCPSS after most recently serving as Principal Counsel to the Maryland Higher Education Commission. His leadership in legal affairs has included roles at HCPSS, Frederick County Public Schools and the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.

Rafiu Ighile, Chief Business and Technology Officer

Rafiu Ighile oversees all financial and technology operations and ensuring responsible stewardship of school system resources. Ighile previously worked for the Howard County Government as Deputy Director of Finance and as Bureau Chief/Controller. He also held controller roles at the American Trucking Association, National Children’s Center Inc., and the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute.

David Larner, Acting Chief Human Resources and Leadership Development Officer

David 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.

Monifa McKnight, Chief School Management and Instructional Leadership Officer

Monifa McKnight oversees a vertical educational delivery model that encompasses preschool through Grade 12. McKnight most recently served as Director for Secondary Leadership Development Programs in Montgomery County Public Schools and a Campus Principal Ambassador Fellow for the United States Department of Education. Her career in education also includes roles as Adjunct Instructor at Hood College and McDaniel College, Principal, Assistant Principal and Teacher.

Anissa Brown Dennis, Chief Operations Officer

Anissa Brown Dennis oversees school facilities, capital planning and operations, purchasing, and environment and risk management. Dennis most recently served as HCPSS’ Acting 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.

Jahantab Siddiqui, Chief Communication, Community and Workforce Engagement Officer

Jahantab Siddiqui oversees communications, workforce engagement and community/government relations. 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.

William Barnes, Chief Academic Officer

William 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.

Marcy Leonard, Community Superintendent, Birth–Grade 12

Marcy Leonard oversees the Area 1 regional cluster of elementary, middle and high schools. Leonard has spent more than 20 years in HCPSS, most recently as Principal of Hammond High School. Previously she was Principal at Atholton High School, and Assistant Principal, Instructional Team Leader and Social Studies Teacher at Wilde Lake High School.

Theo Cramer, Community Superintendent, Birth–Grade 12

Theo Cramer oversees the Area 2 regional cluster of elementary, middle and high schools. Cramer joins HCPSS from Prince George’s County Public Schools, where he was Executive Director of the Division of Human Resources. He has more than 25 years of education experience at Prince George’s County and St. Mary’s County Public Schools.

Patrick Saunderson, Community Superintendent, Birth–Grade 12

Patrick Saunderson oversees the Area 3 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.

James LeMon, Executive Director of Community, Parent and School Outreach

James 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.