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Superintendent Search 2024 Community Engagement 

During the important work of finding a new leader for Montgomery County Public Schools, it is important to listen to what the community has to say. Parents, teachers, students, and other community members all had a say in what qualities and priorities they wanted in the new superintendent.

Read the full report (pdf).

How We Collected Information
  • Community forums were places where people from all walks of life could share their hopes and concerns about our district's future. These meetings encouraged lively discussions and showed what people cared about most: making sure our schools are excellent, fair, diverse, and connected to the community. 
  • Focus groups gave stakeholders a chance to have honest talks about what they want in our next superintendent. In these sessions, people shared their detailed views on the kind of leader they're looking for. They talked about things like leadership style, communication skills, vision, and how well the superintendent can bring people together to work as a team.
  • A survey was sent out to people across our district to get a clear idea of what everyone thinks. By looking at the answers we got, we could see what most people care about, what they think our district does well, what needs improvement, and the important qualities they want in our next superintendent.
Characteristics Our Community Values

Our community values these characteristics in a superintendent: 

  • Transparency and Accountability: Someone who shares information openly and is responsible for the choices they make that affect our system.  
  • Honesty, Integrity, and Trustworthiness: Someone who is upfront and honest, even when things are tough. 
  • Communication & Engagement: Someone who genuinely connects with the community, including students, staff, families, and everyone else. 
Our Community's Priorities

Our community sees the following as priorities for the next superintendent’s work:

  • Student Academic Achievement and Equity of Access to Programs and Resources
  • Safety and Security
  • Well-Being of Staff and Students
  • Recruitment and Retention
What We Learned from Community Forums

Four community forums, three in person and one virtual, were held in April 2024. These forums were structured to elicit feedback on the school system’s strengths, areas of growth and improvement, desired leadership qualities, and priorities of the next superintendent.


  • Diversity
  • High quality of teaching force
  • Rigorous academic programs

Areas of Growth and Improvement 

  • Safety and security
  • Allocation of resources

Desired Leadership Qualities

  • Transparent communication
  • Understanding educational and political landscapes
  • Community engagement
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion

Priorities of the Next Superintendent 

  • Community engagement
  • Ensuring equitable educational experiences for all students 
  • Ensuring and promoting the social and emotional well-being of students and staff


What We Learned from Focus Groups

Seven different focus groups were conducted with MCPS stakeholders. Focus groups were held with members from the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP), Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (MCCPTA), Montgomery County Council, Maryland House of Delegates, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Parents’ Council, and Chinese American Parent Association-Montgomery County (CAPA-MC). 

These focus groups explored two specific questions:

Question 1: What qualities and characteristics do you believe are most important for our new superintendent to possess?

  • Past leadership success with large organizations
  • High quality interpersonal skills with an emphasis on collaboration
  • Promote a culture of transparency and accountability with effective communication
  • Authentic leadership that de-emphasizes the check-box expectations. 
  • Lead with humility and to seriously consider the knowledge and expertise of others

Question 2: What specific goals and priorities should our new superintendent focus on to best serve our students, teachers, families, and community?

  • Effective recruitment and retention strategies
  • The prioritization of student welfare
  • Reexamination of the budget and achieving budget equity
  • The elevation of community engagement strategies
  • Positive culture and climate development
What We Learned from Surveys

A total of 4,880 MCPS stakeholders completed an online survey between March and April 2024. The survey was available in Amharic, Spanish, French, Korean, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Chinese, and English.

The survey gathered information from district stakeholders about their ideal superintendent candidate and what areas a new superintendent should prioritize. 

District Strengths

  • Student Diversity 
  • Teacher Quality 
  • School Choice Options (e.g., access to magnet schools) 

District Challenges

  • Teacher Shortages 
  • Student Discipline 
  • School Safety and Security 

Respondents’ Sentiments Toward MCPS

  • Disappointed
  • Frustrated
  • Hopeful

Critical Skills and Qualities of Superintendent

  • Effective communication skills including honesty, integrity, and transparency
  • Commitment to a positive, professional climate of trust and respect among staff
  • Demonstrated leadership improving educational outcomes for all students

Areas of Emphasis for Superintendent

  • Promotes safety and security in the schools and across the district
  • Puts the needs of students first
  • Sets high expectations for all students

The Ideal Superintendent

  • Honest
  • Integrity
  • Transparent

Superintendent’s Priorities

  • Safety and Security
  • Student Achievement
  • Behavioral and Mental Health

Priorities Warranting Immediate Attention

  • Safety and Security
  • Equitable Access and Practices
  • Budgetary Considerations
  • Student Discipline and Behavior