Montgomery County Public Schools’ interim superintendent is abandoning his plans to retire June 30 to stay with the school district for another year.
At a special meeting Wednesday, the school board voted unanimously in favor of a resolution extending Larry Bowers for one year.
“We’re going to be focusing on literacy and mathematics,” Bowers said. “We’re going to make sure we’re focused on closing the achievement gap but maintain very high standards.”
Bowers is bailing out a failed national search for his replacement. The board announced Thursday that they selected Dr. Andrew Houlihan of Houston as their preferred candidate, but Sunday they were surprised when Houlihan withdrew.
“His letter says for family and professional reasons he did not feel that he was the right fit for us,” School Board President Patricia O’Neill said.
The search for a new superintendent began in February when former Superintendent Joshua Starr lost the support of the board and resigned. The School Board spent $35,000 with a search consulting firm as well as the expenses of candidates brought in for interviews.
The Montgomery County Council has a good working relationship with Bowers, who oversaw strategic planning and finances for the district in his 16 years as chief operating officer for MCPS.
“So I think extending the status quo for another year and then casting a wider net for outstanding superintendent candidates in the coming cycle I think is fine,” Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal said.
The search will resume in January.