The Board of Education, completing the final steps in a national search for a new superintendent, has approved the contract terms that will bring North Carolina educator, Dr. Jerry D. Weast, to Maryland as the next chief executive officer of the Montgomery County Public Schools. The four-year term extends to June 30, 2003.
Dr. Weast is meeting today [July 12] with parents, community leaders, educators, and business executives during special 45-minute sessions throughout the day. A general public session will be held at 8:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.
"Bringing Dr. Weast to Montgomery County has been our highest priority for the past several weeks, and we are pleased to have completed all of the necessary arrangements that will secure his employment," said Reginald Felton, president of the Board of Education. "Dr. Weast is an inspiring and energetic educational leader with more than 23 years experience as a superintendent of public education in the United States, and he has already made an impact on the members of the Board with his ideas for the future of our school system.
"In view of his outstanding qualities and the strength of the potential benefits to our school system, the Board negotiated a compensation agreement for Dr. Weast that reflects an essential and necessary investment in the future of Montgomery County and our pursuit of a world class educational program for our students," said Mr. Felton.
The negotiated contract includes an annual salary of $237,794 plus insurance, retirement, and other benefits for a total compensation of $285,804. The contract also provides certain relocation benefits and official operating expenses.
"I plan to make my home in Montgomery County, and my commitment is for a strong and vigorous term as superintendent," said Dr. Weast. "My wife, Linda, and I are excited about becoming part of the community, and we are deeply grateful to the many people who have already welcomed us.
"I believe very strongly that the public education in Montgomery County represents one of the premier educational programs in America today, but I also believe there are ways of improving even a great school system," said Dr. Weast. "Montgomery County has the potential for successfully addressing major and difficult issues, such as equity in student opportunity, and I believe the system will continue to improve achievement for all students."
The Board identified Dr. Weast after a careful review of his credentials, experience, and educational and management philosophy in relation to the "leadership profile assessment" developed from earlier public forums and survey assessment. The Board earlier had appointed Dr. Weast to the superintendency pending negotiations of an employment agreement and approval by the state superintendent.
Dr. Weast has been superintendent in Guilford County since 1993. Guilford County is North Carolina's third largest school district, with 94 schools and 61,000 students, in a metropolitan area with a population of 1.2 million residents that includes the cities of Greensboro and High Point. Dr. Weast was also superintendent in other school districts in Kansas, Montana, North Carolina and South Dakota, beginning in 1976.
Montgomery County will begin the new school year on September 1 with 189 schools, including three new middle schools and one new elementary schools, and an enrollment of more than 131,000 students. By the year 2004, the system is projected to enroll more than 136,000 students. The current operating budget exceeds $1.2 billion. The current six-year capital improvements program includes $567 million in school construction.
Prior to being a superintendent, Dr. Weast was a secondary school principal and teacher. He has also served as a university professor. He holds a doctorate in educational administration from Oklahoma State University and other graduate and undergraduate degrees from Pittsburg State University, Kansas, as well as continued professional development at Harvard University, Duke University, and the University of Southern California.
Dr. Paul L. Vance will continue as superintendent of schools during the transition.
See link below for photo.