How do you replace a nationally respected education leader like Dr. Jerry Weast? After a yearlong search, the Montgomery County School Board selected Dr. Joshua Starr, school superintendent in Stamford Connecticut for the past 6 years.
School board president Christopher Barclay said, “We have quite a diverse community. We have some folks who are extremely wealthy, and unfortunately, we have some folks who don't have as much. And what he's been able to do is to bring that together, and do really good work on achievement.”
Can Dr. Starr's success in Stamford be brought to the Montgomery County Public school system, which is ten times larger? Dr. Starr told NBC4 that he is eager for the challenge.
"I think it's about relying on staff, teachers, principals, support staff and community to maintain excellence and reach new heights," he said.
Dr. Starr’s comments are welcomed by the Montgomery County Education Association, the union representing 12,000 teachers and professional support staff.
MCEA president Doug Prouty said, “The work that teachers do every day, and the folks who support that work, the professionals who support teachers, are the most important part of what happens to children every day. So I'm glad to hear that he said that."
The Montgomery County Council of PTAs thinks Dr. Starr will be a good partner with the community.
President Kristin Trible says, “He came across as a collaborator, someone whose willing to listen to stakeholders. I'm hopeful that it's truly the case."
NBC4 spoke to some parents with children in Montgomery County Public schools, to see what they wanted in a new school superintendent.
Michal Freedhoff, who has three children in Elementary School said, “I'm looking for someone who can listen to input from the parent community in Montgomery County, and also for someone whose able to make difficult decisions."
Dr. Starr is expected to take over the Montgomery County Public school system on July 1.