BOE Appoints Dr. Monique Felder as Interim Superintendent of Schools
The Montgomery County Board of Education appointed Dr. Monique Felder as interim superintendent of MCPS at its business meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
Dr. Felder brings 32 years of experience in public education, including as superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in North Carolina, where she was nominated regional superintendent of the year.
Prior to her superintendency, she served as the Chief Academic Officer for Metro Nashville Public Schools (Tenn.), as an executive director for Prince George’s County Public Schools (Md.), and as a teacher, the director of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction, and director of the Interventions Network for MCPS.
“Dr. Felder has a long and successful career in public education, and is already familiar with MCPS,” said Karla Silvestre, president of the Board of Education. “We are confident that her background in district leadership, instruction and administration makes her the right person to carry us through this transition and begin the work to rebuild trust among staff and the community, while we identify the next permanent superintendent.”
Dr. Felder started her career with MCPS, serving as a classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal. During her time with MCPS, she was recognized with the International Reading Association’s Award for Exemplary Reading Programs in the state of Maryland, and as a finalist for The Washington Post’s Outstanding Leadership Award. She served as the director and supervisor of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction for MCPS for six years and director of the Interventions Network for one year before moving to Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD) as the Executive Director for Teaching and Learning.
While serving as the Chief Academic Officer for Metro Nashville Public Schools, she leveraged her leadership skills and instructional expertise to outpace the state in literacy achievement, raise SAT scores and decrease suspensions. She also oversaw an increase in the number of students graduating with an associate’s degree or certificate, and an increase in graduation rates for all students while significantly improving graduation rates for students who had traditionally been underserved.
During her four years as superintendent of Orange County Schools in North Carolina, she was unanimously nominated as the regional superintendent of the year by the Board and staff for her work boosting academic achievement.
A New York native, Dr. Felder holds a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from York College (N.Y.), a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University (Md.) with a specialization in elementary science and mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Va.), where she studied the effective leadership behaviors and practices of principals in elementary schools serving predominantly students of color.
She has also pursued post-doctoral studies at McDaniel College, earning an advanced certificate in Equity and Excellence in Education, and is co-author of the book, Increasing Diversity in Gifted Education: Research Based Strategies for Identification and Program Services. In 2022, she was selected as a collaborating author of STEM Century: It Takes a Village to Raise a 21st Century Graduate, with a chapter entitled: “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: Increasing Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Diversity in STEM-Careers.”
Recently, Dr. Felder has been coaching and mentoring principals and assistant principals in New Jersey and working with forward-thinking superintendents in North Carolina on identifying and implementing innovative programs.
In the vein of transparency, the Board wants to make it clear that they are aware of a prior investigation into the financial disclosure reporting of an honorarium received by Dr. Felder from an educational consulting company in 2019. The Board has reviewed the findings and is confident that the findings were unsubstantiated as the report concluded. The Board is confident that Dr. Felder is a trustworthy, upstanding and highly respected educational leader who will be able to competently guide MCPS through this transition.
Below, read Dr. Felder’s email to staff, sent on Feb. 6:
Dear MCPS Staff,
I hope this message finds you all well. It is with great enthusiasm that I reintroduce myself as the Interim Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools. My journey in education has spanned over 32 years, with deep roots in this remarkable district, and I am honored to be back among the dedicated professionals who form the backbone of MCPS.
To me, returning to Montgomery County Public Schools feels like a homecoming. I have had the privilege of working at every level of MCPS, from my humble beginnings as a classroom teacher, which I absolutely loved, to my tenure as a principal right here in this district. My career has taken me to various leadership positions, including as a Chief Academic Officer and my most recent role as the superintendent of Orange County Schools in North Carolina.
After nearly a decade away, I am thrilled to be back in the district that molded me into the educator and leader I am today. As someone with deep ties to MCPS, I hold a profound understanding of the strengths and challenges we face, and I am fully committed to ensuring the continued success of our schools.
In my role as the interim superintendent over these next few months, my primary objective is to create stability within the district. I want to ensure consistency for our staff, students, and families and pave the way for a seamless transition to the next superintendent. My immediate focus is on closing out the 2023-24 school year on a high note and keeping the spotlight firmly on our students where it belongs.
I plan to be actively present in our schools, classrooms, and central office, meeting with principals, staff, teachers, and students. Your insights, experiences, and perspectives are invaluable to me, and I am dedicated to fostering open and transparent communication and relationships.
I am here to support you, our incredible district staff, as we navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Together, we can continue to provide the best education possible to the students of Montgomery County.
Thank you for your dedication and hard work in shaping the future of our district. I am excited to collaborate with each of you in the days and months to come.
In service to children,
Monique T. Felder, Ph.D.