MCPS searches for new superintendent after Weast’s departure

By By Allison Srour, Contest Manager

In August, MCPS Superintendent  Jerry Weast announced his plans to retire when his contract ends June 30.

 

Weast has served as MCPS Superintendent for almost 12 years.  The Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) is conducting a national search in order to find a suitable replacement.

 

“He has done a lot of excellent work in Montgomery County,” Principal Joan Benz said.  “I think he has reached an excellent place [for retirement].” 

 

In order to ensure that the new superintendent is suitable for the community, the BOE has set up multiple ways that members of the community can voice their opinion about the qualities they would like to see in the future superintendent.  There is a website devoted entirely to the search, which includes an online survey, and the BOE hosted six public forums in January and February, where the community shared their feelings about the search and Weast’s retirement. 

 

“I want someone who is an outstanding leader,” Student Member of the Board (SMOB) candidate junior Hal Zeitlin said.  “Their enthusiasm and passion should transfer from the top of the central office to each and every student across the county.”

 

Many people would like to see someone that is a strong leader and has enough experience to handle a complex school system like MCPS. 

 

“We are a huge school system, so we have to have someone with large school experience who can deal with a large amount of stakeholders,” Benz said. 

 

The BOE has hired Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), an executive search firm that serves public schools, to assist in the national search.

 

“We spent three days in the district last week interviewing close to 400 people to see what they thought about [MCPS] and what was important in the next superintendent,” HYA president Hank Gmitro said.  “We are going to take all of the information and finalize the criteria and then we are going to use that information to recruit and train candidates who have applied.”

 

Although people are sad to see Weast leave, many think that it will be good to get a new perspective on how to lead the school system.

 

“It’s always good for a school system to have someone with new eyes to come in to change things and bring new ideas,” Benz said. 

 

Most students have had Weast as their superintendent for their whole time in MCPS.

 

“I am sad that [Weast] is retiring,” Zeitlin said.  “I grew up with him as a leader and he never lost his passion through the job.  It is always good to get a new perspective, however.” 

 

The BOE plans to hire the new superintendent before Weast’s retirement in late June.