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Weast Wins National Award for Leadership and Reform

May 6, 2008
Dr. Jerry D. Weast, Superintendent of Schools, has been honored by APQC, a nonprofit benchmarking and best practices organization, with the C. Jackson Grayson Distinguished Quality Pioneer Medal. The award, presented for the first time this year, was given to four individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in furthering quality in education, health care, public service, or other nonprofit organizations.

The awards were announced today at the American Society for Quality’s 2008 World Conference on Quality and Improvement, held in Houston, Texas.

Other winners include: Mr. Al Gore, former United States Vice President and Nobel Prize winner; Dr. Don M. Berwick, President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; and Dr. A. Blanton Godfrey, Dean and Joseph D. Moore Professor of Textile & Apparel Technology & Management, College of Textiles, North Carolina State University.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges for their excellence in using management processes, assessment, and collaborative teamwork “to achieve productivity and other enhancements to their organizations’ performance and mission as well as society as a whole.”

“The word “teamwork’ is the key to the success we have had in Montgomery County Public Schools,” said Superintendent Weast. “Our 22,000 employees, who focus on providing the highest quality educational experience for all our students, share in this honor.”

Following is the text of Dr. Weast’s APQC recognition:
The C. Jackson Grayson Medal recognizes Jerry D. Weast for his innovative leadership in dramatically driving quality and process improvement in K-12 education. Weast's innovations in using quality and process improvement in K-12 education has inspired others to apply these approaches on behalf of all children.

Montgomery County Public Schools is the largest and most diverse school system in Maryland, and the 17th largest district in the nation. Appointed to Superintendent in 1999 and reappointed in 2003 and 2007, Dr. Weast is directing an ambitious reform effort designed to raise academic standards and narrow the achievement gap for nearly 140,000 students.

Since 2004, Dr. Weast has led a team of school system and union leaders, working together with researchers and leaders from other school systems, in the Public Education Leadership Project to study school system governance. This work led to Montgomery County Public Schools' receipt of the U.S. Senate/Maryland Productivity Award in 2005. In addition, the school system was a 2006 Finalist for a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

More information is on the APQC web site.

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