During a press conference that took place today noon, MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr and members of the Board of Education released an agreement stating that Dr. Starr will end his appointment prior to the completion of his full term. Mr. Larry Bowers, the current MCPS Chief Operating Officer, is expected to serve as the interim superintendent of schools starting on February 16.
According to Patricia O’Neill, president of the Board of Education, Bowers, a 37-year veteran of MCPS, understands the culture, strengths, and needs of MCPS and will ensure that MCPS operates smoothly as the county prepares for a new leader.
“I know these types of transitions can be unsettling and create concerns about what the future holds for our district. But my Board colleagues and I want to be clear: MCPS is an excellent district with an outstanding staff and strong community support and we are committed to upholding that tradition,” wrote O’Neill in a public statement.
Dr. Starr began his career in education as a special education teacher in New York City and holds a doctorate degree in administration and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He began his tenure as superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) on July 1, 2011 and during his term spearheaded multiple initiatives including efforts to close the achievement gap, advocacy for equitable funding, and frameworks for professional development.
Upon learning about Dr. Starr’s resignation, Poolesville High School senior Denise Alving noted “I believe he should have at least waited until the end of the school year, to make the transition easier on the students. This decision was very abrupt and untimely, right at the start of the new year and the beginning of the second semester”.
Poolesville senior Asma Azam further explained that “if his resignation was related in any way to the cyber bullying he endured on social media and the death threats that he has been receiving, then this could be very sad news for Montgomery County students everywhere.”
Poolesville student R. Chang believed that “maybe he was pushed too far. There was so much pressure on him to please everyone with the budget and to improve the state of the schools. And the threats people make are really acerbic and could hurt anyone.”
Article by the MoCo Student News Staff; interview contributions by the MoCo Student MCPS editor Mahya Bigdeli of Poolesville High School