EDUCATION

Joshua Starr: New superintendent for Montgomery County schools

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Joshua Starr, the designated superintendent of the Montgomery County schools.

Parents are learning more about Montgomery County's pick for a school superintendent. The Montgomery County Board of Education announced Monday that it has selected Joshua Starr as the school district’s next superintendent.

The 41-year-old Starr comes to Maryland’s largest school district from the Stamford Public School system in Connecticut, where he has served as superintendent since 2005. He has a PhD in education from Harvard University.

Reached by phone Tuesday, he told ABC7 he has great excitement for his new job. “Together we're going to be able to do some really great things-- and I can't wait to get started,” he said.

Starr will go from a school district with 15,000 students to one with 144,000; from 1,400 teachers to 12,000, and from a budget of $223 million to $2.1 billion.

Starr says he can handle it. “I understand urban education extremely well,” he said. “Kids are kids and schools are schools. It's just at a larger scale.”

Starr will replace Jerry D. Weast, who is retiring at the end of June after more than a decade at the post. Weast cultivated strong support among Montgomery County teachers. Union President Doug Prouty was on the committee that interviewed the three finalists and recommended Starr.

“He came across as very energetic, very intelligent in interviews, he's instituted some of the same reforms that we're looking at,” Prouty said.

The state superintendent of schools must approve Starr’s appointment, according to a news release. The final details of his contract are also still being negotiated.

The search for a new chief of the Washington area's second largest school district has been conducted virtually entirely out of the public eye.

“The board has pretty much conducted this entire process from start to finish in secrecy -- behind closed doors,” said Janis Sartucci of the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County.

Pending agreement on a contract, the new superintendent will start July 1st.

One thing, however, won’t change for Starr: Just like Stamford, Montgomery is facing a never-ending budget battles.

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