Dear MCPS Community:
As we approach the end of the school year, I have been reflecting on what I have learned this year about how to best support our students, staff, families and community as we seek to create the best environment for our school system to reach its full potential and perform at its highest levels.
This has been a productive time. In collaboration with partners inside our school system and throughout our community, I have been assessing our strengths, needs and performance levels. Evaluating and assessing what is working and where we can improve is a commitment I brought into my role as interim superintendent and that will continue throughout my tenure.
I have enjoyed frank and robust conversations with parents and students. I also have engaged in a series of conversations with successful school leaders from around the country to learn from some of the best in the business. I have listened–really listened–as part of my commitment to understanding how to build systems and structures that lead to successful outcomes.
These conversations have made me even more certain that we have to organize our school system in a way that increases our focus on our top three priorities—engaging stakeholders to build trust; ensuring student health and well-being; and refocusing on equitable teaching and learning.
As a result of all that I have learned—and with thanks to so many of you—we are looking at some strategic enhancements to the current leadership structure to align to our priorities, go deeper where we need to, and provide efficiencies and free resources for areas where we see the greatest need, such as student mental health.
The MCPS FY2023 strategic organizational leadership structure outlines some important changes. We will be adding a deputy superintendent and chief academic officer in order to improve our focus on equitable teaching and learning. Our new assistant chief of communications and senior community advisor will focus on our priority of rebuilding trust and engaging stakeholders. Based on conversations with parents of students receiving special education services, I will hire a special education liaison to proactively communicate with families and help remove barriers they face in accessing our school system’s special education resources. Our chief operating officer, who will have expertise in finance, will oversee the equitable allocation of resources so that our schools, students and staff have what they need. Finally, the medical officer we identified a need for last fall and recently hired will bring expertise to our commitment to student health and wellness.
These new positions will add diverse and seasoned professionals to an already strong, dedicated team, creating the space to grow, to seize future opportunities, and meet upcoming challenges. The changes support our great responsibility to our students and district and are in direct response to what I have heard from you; with care, effort and prudent fiscal stewardship, these resources will improve our schools.
With our roadmap, we are well-positioned to seek applications, hire and onboard experienced leaders during the next few months. We have launched independent, national searches for our deputy superintendent, chief operating officer and chief academic officer. We are committed to engaging our stakeholders in the process through developing an understanding of the characteristics they desire in our leaders and, with selected positions, inviting participation on interview panels.
In the meantime, our existing leaders and staff are prepared to continue the planning and implementation of priorities for our students. We are armed with a better understanding of the professional capacity we seek as we continue to tackle disruptions to learning and well-being resulting from COVID-19; improve engagement at every level throughout the district; and build toward the excellence we expect and our students and stakeholders deserve.
I look forward to continuing to come together with you to discuss our schools’ strengths, areas of growth and priorities. I deeply value our continued partnership as we work to move our district forward.
Monifa B. McKnight, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
Montgomery County Public Schools
Email us: ASKMCPS@mcpsmd.org