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Superintendent Shares Why Some School Leaders Leave

Superintendent Shares Why Some School Leaders Leave

Joshua Starr, former superintendent with the Montgomery County Schools in Rockville, Md., recently explained in a Q&A why he resigned from his position.

Starr revealed in the Q&A that he was known, "as a bit of a maverick," according to an article on NPR.org.

"As the head of the 154,000 student district in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, he gained notoriety in 2012 by calling for a three-year moratorium on standardized testing." 

"And, he's incorporated measures of student and employee engagement and well-being into school report cards."

The first question was "what are you most proud of from your time as superintendent?"

Well, I'm proud of our results. Graduation rates are up across the board, and we've also narrowed the gap in graduation. SAT and AP scores continue to be high. I'm proud of that. We also reduced suspensions pretty significantly. The second thing is the way that we've redefined what public education should look like, to include creative problem solving and social and emotional well-being to be as important as academic success. We saw the biggest one-year increase in graduation rates at Wheaton High School, where we reframed what teaching and learning looks like by focusing on project-based learning.

The second questions was, "you made headlines in 2012 by calling for a three-year moratorium on standardized testing. What's your position now as the issue is back in the news?"

Well, I think more and more people have come around to the point of view I expressed a few years ago. I am not anti-testing. I'm concerned about the policies associated with the testing regime and how they may detract from the quality and purpose and the use of tests. We need good assessments — any quality school or district must have ongoing assessments of where kids are relative to where we want them to be. We need accountability and I do think there's a role for state tests — I would argue once each in elementary, middle, and high school — to measure school performance. Tests are an essential part of the landscape. It's a matter of which test for what purpose.

The third question was: "you promote resilience and grit as part of social and emotional well-being. How are these values coming into action for you now as you contemplate your next step?"

"I always tell new leaders coming up, the first rule of leadership is know yourself," Starr concluded. "I'm going to spend some time doing that over the next little while, thinking, What it is I want to do for the rest of my career? Where can I make the most impact? What are the greatest needs out there?"

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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