The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

On the hunt for transparency: MCPS on a quest to find a new superintendent

Photo courtesy of MCPS
MCPS Board of Education members held a town meeting to discuss plans to hire a new MCPS superintendent.

Wherever you search, former MCPS superintendent, Monifa McKnight, receives a lot of criticism. Whether it be regarding her misconduct with former Farquhar Middle School principal Joel Beidleman, or school closures MCPS residents felt were unnecessary, many people believe that MCPS needs a change. 

On April 2, 2024, the Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) met to come up with a plan to find the new MCPS superintendent. They voted to hire a Florida firm, Greenwood Asher & Associates, to launch a national superintendent search. It is the role of a superintendent to manage and oversee all of the public schools within MCPS, as well as addressing the issues students and staff face. 

Ideally, superintendents are supposed to speak out against the issues harming staff and students, an aspect some believe McKnight was subpar at. WCHS junior Izzy Harrison was very disappointed with how the situation regarding the principal of Farquhar Middle School, Joel Beidleman, was handled by McKnight. Harrison feels that McKnight should have acted faster in response to the accusations surrounding Beidleman. 

“If I were the MCPS superintendent, I would not be afraid to speak up about mistreatment of our staff,” Harrison said. “No one should be mistreated or feel unsafe while working, so it is important that the next superintendent uses their voice to protect staff.”

Story continues below advertisement

One major role of a superintendent is to ensure that the needs of the students are being met. WCHS Junior Taylor Pokress believes that allowing students to communicate directly with the superintendent will make this process easier. 

“I think our new superintendent should allow students easier contact with the superintendent,” Pokress said. “If there is something they are not happy about with how schools are being run or an issue in schools, then the superintendent should be able to hear about it and take action.”

Many times, in the event of a school closure, there is backlash. For example, some feel that a surplus of non-severe weather closures by former superintendents was unnecessary and only caused more disruptions. However, in the case of actual severe weather, it is important that the superintendent does make the call to close schools. Therefore, some students feel school closures should be more carefully assessed.

“Some school closures were unnecessary because there would be days where we would have a bit of rain and school would be closed,” Pokress said. “I feel that closures like that are a little pointless and it just takes days out of our spring and summer breaks.”

WCHS Spanish teacher, Robert Roos, believes the primary focus of the new superintendent should be staff, students and other factors such as budget. He stands by the truth that superintendents should do everything they can to help staff and students within their ability. 

“The superintendent should be someone who is very considerate and keeps in mind all of the stakeholders in public schools: teachers, students, parents [and] staff,” Roos said. “I think it’s a real challenge to balance all those and work within all the constraints of a budget.”

Many believe superintendents should set an example of what the county represents so that others in MCPS follow their lead. Without an honest superintendent, it puts the county in a negative light. The new superintendent is expected to act according to the rules and set the bar for how things should be conducted.

“[Having] someone who is fair and follows the rules of MCPS is important based on what happened with the last superintendent,” Roos said. “To be able to follow the rules of whatever the county has set for them is important because it shows people what’s important.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *