Board of Education Completes First Phase of Central Office Reorganization With Key Administrative Appointments

January 12, 2000
The appointment by the Board of Education yesterday [Tuesday, January 11] of a new deputy superintendent for organizational development and the placement of an interim associate superintendent for instruction and program development, along with other key personnel selections, completes the first phase of the central office reorganization of the Montgomery County Public Schools.

The new appointments bring to Montgomery County a former superintendent of schools in Dayton, Ohio, and promotes four current elementary principals and three other administrators to systemwide leadership positions. The action follows appointments last month in which the Board of Education completed the selection of six community superintendents with the hiring of an administrator from Norfolk, Virginia, and promotion of a county high school principal.

Board of Education President Patricia B. O'Neill called the new administrators a "dream team" for the organizational leadership of the school system.

Altogether, 10 women and eight men have been selected by Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast to head major new offices and initiatives since his own appointment in August 1999. The selections reflect the diversity of the school system. Seven of the administrators are African American, two are Asian American, one is Hispanic, and eight are White.

"This brings together a high quality team of individuals who demonstrate the talent we have in the school system and our ability to attract talented people from across the nation," said Dr. Weast. "I am particularly pleased that the Board of Education has given this team its approval and endorsement in addressing the challenges before us in raising student achievement and closing the gap by race and ethnicity."

The new deputy superintendent, Dr. James A. Williams, will focus on the organizational development needs of the school system. This includes the development of a high-performing and diverse workforce that will be asked to meet rigorous performance and evaluation standards, the first of which involves a new evaluation system for teachers now under development and will be expanded to include all positions in the school system. Major new efforts in staff development and training are proposed already for next year to address various instructional and academic initiatives and the recruitment of record numbers of new teachers.

Dr. Williams, who is a former high school principal in Washington, D.C., was superintendent of Dayton Public Schools from 1991 to 1999. He also served there as deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent for intermediate and secondary instruction. He will join Dr. Steven G. Seleznow, deputy superintendent for education, and Mr. Larry A. Bowers, chief operating officer, in coordinating the overall leadership for MCPS with Dr. Weast.

The new interim associate superintendent for instruction and program development is Ms. Judith A. Muntner, currently principal of Beall Elementary School and former principal of Damascus Elementary School. Beall Elementary School is credited for having been one of the models for the new reading initiative and the plan to revise the kindergarten curriculum. Ms. Muntner, who has been an elementary teacher and teacher specialist in gifted and talented education, will be interim associate superintendent until a permanent selection is made before the next school year.

Among the new appointments approved today are six performance directors in the Office of School Performance and Accountability, which completes the transition from the former Office of School Administration. The restructured office is considered a key element of the superintendent's administrative team in which community superintendents will be responsible for coordinating major new efforts to ensure that student performance improves and the achievement gap is closed.

The six performance directors include three current elementary principals, two high school assistant principals, and two former elementary principals on special assignment from the previous school administration office. They, along with the community superintendents, will be working with the Office of Instruction and Program Development and the Office of Pupil and Community Services to lead new integrated project teams of specialists, supervisors, teachers and coordinators assigned to help address the needs of under-performing schools and students.

The new performance directors and their assignments are:

  • Pat Abrunzo, currently principal on special assignment, with Community Superintendent Pamela Hoffler-Riddick in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson, Wheaton, and Walt Whitman clusters;

  • Donna S. Hollingshead, currently assistant principal, Seneca Valley High School, with Community Superintendent Kimberly Statham in the Northeast Consortium (James Hubert Blake, Paint Branch, and Springbrook clusters) and the Sherwood cluster;

  • LaVerne S. Kimball, currently principal, Burning Tree Elementary School, with Community Superintendent Joseph Headman in the Winston Churchill, Richard Montgomery, Rockville, and Thomas Wootton clusters;

  • Cynthia A. Rattley, currently principal on special assignment, Office of School Performance and Accountability, with Community Superintendent Donald Kress in the Northwest, Quince Orchard, Seneca Valley, and Poolesville clusters;

  • Angelia E. Saunders, currently assistant principal, Quince Orchard High School, with Community Superintendent William Wilhoyte in the Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, and John F. Kennedy clusters; and

  • Dr. Donna J. Weldin, currently principal, Strawberry Knoll Elementary School, with Community Superintendent Louis Martinez in the Damascus, Gaithersburg, Col. Zadok Magruder, and Watkins Mill clusters.

    Among the community superintendents, two are new to the Office of School Performance and Accountability. Dr. Hoffler-Riddick was senior director for Research, Testing and Statistics in Norfolk, Virginia, and a former middle school principal. Mr. Martinez was principal of Watkins Mill High School and previously a high school principal in New Mexico. The four other community superintendents were previously directors of school administration.

    Other members of the superintendent's senior administrative team include Associate Superintendent for Pupil and Community Services Hiawatha Fountain, Executive Assistant Frieda Lacey who serves as the superintendent's chief of staff, Special Assistant Aggie Alvez, Director of Human Resources Elizabeth Arons, and Director of Communications Brian J. Porter.

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