Superintendent Receives Outstanding Advocate Award from National Association of School Psychologists

January 22, 2015

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Joshua P. Starr has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Advocate Award from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

The Outstanding Advocate Award recognizes individuals or groups who demonstrate effective advocacy at the state or local levels to improve education and mental health services for children, youth and their families.

Dr. Starr was recognized for his leadership and advocacy on behalf of MCPS students and staff, as well as his commitment to expanding access to evidence-based school psychological services and social-emotional learning. Since arriving at MCPS, Dr. Starr has increased the number of school psychologists at the elementary and secondary levels and is committed to hiring additional psychologists in the coming years.

“School psychologists are an important part of ensuring the academic success and social emotional well-being of our students,” Dr. Starr said. “I want to thank the National Association of School Psychologists for this honor and I look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure all of our students reach their highest potential.”

NASP also noted his efforts to implement systemic initiatives that go beyond academics. Dr. Starr and the Board of Education worked collaboratively with MCPS staff, students and the community members to develop a new strategic focus for MCPS. The Strategic Planning Framework, Building Our Future Together: Students, Staff and Community, was launched in 2013 and serves as a guide for the district as it seeks to provide all students with a world-class education. It focuses on the three core competencies students need for success in the 21st century—academic excellence, creative problem solving, and social emotional learning—as well as a continued commitment to organizational effectiveness.

Dr. Starr has worked hard to engage staff, students, parents and community members in conversations about education in a variety of ways, including student and parent town hall meetings, book clubspodcaststelevision, and the use of social media.

Dr. Starr was nominated for the Outstanding Advocate Award by several MCPS employees, including Brian Bartels, director of the Division of Psychological Services; David Holdefer, president of the Maryland School Psychologists’ Association; Matthew Kamins, a school psychologist, and Chrisandra Richardson, associate superintendent for Special Education and Student Services. 

“Since arriving at MCPS, Dr. Starr has worked tirelessly to provide all students with an education that prepares them for success in the 21st century,” Mr. Holdefer wrote in his nomination letter. “More importantly, he has been a very strong advocate for the social and emotional needs of the more than 150,000 children that he serves.”

The Outstanding Advocate Awards will be presented during the NASP annual convention in February 2015.

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