It's official! Montgomery County has hired a new public schools superintendent.
Besides inheriting one of the most highly acclaimed school districts in the nation, new Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Starr will also be putting away a pretty sizable paycheck.
According to the Washington Examiner, Starr’s contract stipulates a $250,000 salary, a take-home car, a smartphone, and thousands of dollars in moving expenses and benefits. That’s $33,000 more than retiring Superintendent Jerry Weast. But the Examiner also points out that Starr will have to meet more frequently with the county school board to discuss his performance than Weast did.
While signing his contract today, Dr. Starr joked, "You know I shouldn't say this but I am a Yankee fan and I think taking over from the world Champion Yankees," referring to outgoing superintendent Weast.
School board president Christopher Barclay said at the ceremony, "I commend the board for finding the best of the best."
Board Member Laura Berthiaume told the Examiner that the contract, “is absolutely thorough, and it also sets a very clear vision for how the board and the superintendent are going to work together, and how the superintendent is going to work with staff and community. I think it is a very, very well-written contract.”
Starr comes from Stamford, Ct., where he oversaw a school district of 15,000 students. In this new role, he'll oversee a district of 144,000 students. On Wednesday he said he is looking forward to the challenge.
"What I really want to do is get involved with parents, student, and teachers," Starr said, "and learn what their hopes and dreams are, and help them build to that.
The true value of Starr’s complete package won’t be known until he chooses some of his benefits, like insurance plans. But the Examiner reports that the four-year contract includes annual raises, allows for 20 sick day and 25 days of leave, a $35,000 annual bonus, moving expenses up to $30,000, and a BlackBerry or iPhone. Whatever the total winds up being, it is definitely a step from the $217,000 he currently makes as superintendent of Stamford, Ct. schools.
There are also some stipulations that Starr will have to meet, according to the Examiner. He and his family will have to live in Montgomery County and will have to meet with the school board four times a year for an annual performance review, in addition to an annual written review.
Interestingly enough, Starr’s salary is below several other high profile superintendents in the region.
According to the Washington Post, Starr's salary is equal to that of Prince George’s County superintendent William Hite. But it is below that of Fairfax County superintendent Jack Dale, who makes about $292,000 a year, and acting chancellor of D.C. Public Schools Kaya Henderson, who makes $275,000. Former D.C. Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee also made $275,000 a year.