Montgomery County School Board Names Thomas Taylor as Superintendent Pick

Montgomery County School Board Monday named Virginie superintendent as the choice to lead Maryland’s largest school system, as the The district is trying to rebuild employee morale and recover from pandemic-related learning losses.

Thomas Taylor, who faces a formal school board vote next week, is currently superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools. He has led the district of approximately 32,000 students since 2021.

Taylor, a former Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School student, excelled Montgomery’s work as a “homecoming.”

In an interview, Taylor recalled his time in the neighborhood. When he was a student, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and he lived in a single-parent household. Her seventh-grade music teacher, Gail Glazer, was “the emotional support for me” during this time.

“She got me involved in a lot of things that I probably never would have been involved in,” Taylor, 46, said. “And that transformative experience, I think, set me on the path to becoming an educator, and that’s part of the reason I wanted to come back to Montgomery County.”

He said the school system “has a rich history of academic success” but added that history is accompanied by inequities. He added that some of his biggest challenges come from trust.

“I think there are real trust issues: trust between the board and the school system, trust between the community and the school system,” Taylor said. “I think [rebuilding trust is] the first step in restoring what Montgomery County could be in the future.

Taylor will interim success, Superintendent Monique Felder, who was appointed by the school board in February following the departure of former Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight. He will take charge of a school system under surveillance since months for its handling of employee complaints of harassment and other fault, after an investigation by The Washington Post revealed that a former middle school principal was promoted despite reports of his conduct. The former principal, Joel Beidleman, is no longer an employee of the district and has already denied many of the allegations.

In its statement Monday, the school board said Taylor recognizes the challenges facing the school system. They said that during the interview process, Taylor told board members, “Everything begins and ends with the culture that leadership creates.”

Taylor has been an educator for over 25 years. He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in business administration from the College of William & Mary.

As Stafford County superintendent, he created two “first-of-its-kind” programs, according to a school board news release. One of the programs was a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service that trained students to assist in federal income tax preparation for low-income families. Another program was a partnership with the Fredericksburg Food Bank to open food cupboards in schools.

Taylor also helped create “open source curriculum centers” for teachers to exchange teaching materials with each other.

He was also known – even as a headteacher – to sometimes substitute teach in Stafford’s classrooms and observe students for a day. He added that he plans to replicate that in Montgomery County. “I think it’s not just important that people see me in their school,” he said. “But it’s really important to me to share some of the experiences they’re going through.”

Taylor is also known for his humor. In January, he went viral thanks to a rap video he posted announcing that the Stafford district would close schools for a snow day – dubbing itself “Dr. T” and “Snow Supe.” He said he hopes to release a second single as the leader of Montgomery County Schools if time permits.

“I am excited about the appointment of Dr. Taylor as superintendent,” Brigid Howe, president of the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, said in a text message. “His priorities regarding transparency and accountability align with parents’ concerns about the current state of MCPS.”

Taylor will resume the Montgomery County Schools is releasing its releases after a difficult budget season for the system. The district closed a $30 million budget gap, in part by making further cuts to its central office. As such, he will have no assistant superintendent working alongside him – after the board approved a budget eliminating the position.

Additionally, two key administrative roles – chief of staff and chief operating officer – have not Currently permanent people in place. Henry Johnson, former principal of Northwood High School, is temporarily serving as chief of staff.

And just that Last weekend, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hull left the school system.

District Manager Liliana López on Monday declined to elaborate on the circumstances of Hull’s departure, saying state law prevents the district from commenting on personnel matters.

As chief operating officer, Hull oversaw the district’s finances, transportation, facilities management and labor relations. An organizational chart shows that human resources and development were overseen by Hull, but the office has reported to Johnson since March, López said. Hull was not among the employees involved in promoting Beidleman, according to a law firm report and a previous Post article.

Hull has served as interim superintendent twice in the past year. He moved forward to comment on his departure.

Taylor said filling some central office vacancies was “priority number one.”

“It’s part of our desire to look internally first, to consolidate this team and create that stability, so that the rest of our educators and our staff who work very hard know that they can count on a system that act together,” he said. .

If Taylor is approved by the board, he will start July 1.

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