EXCLUSIVE: Former MCPS superintendent Joshua Starr speaks out after resignation

- It has been more than seven months since the resignation of Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr, and there are still questions surrounding his departure and who is taking over as the permanent replacement.

FOX 5’s Laura Evans sat down with Dr. Starr in his first interview on the matter since he resigned in February.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun, writing a lot, speaking a lot,” Starr said.

Starr is now chief executive of PDK International, a network of education professionals. Larry Bowers was named interim superintendent when Starr left, and with a failed search for a new superintendent going into this new school year, Bowers will stay at the helm until July 2016 when he intends to retire.

School spokesperson Dana Tofig provided the following statement to FOX 5:

The Board intends to relaunch its search for a new superintendent this fall and will have the next superintendent in place by July 1, 2016. In the meantime, interim superintendent Larry Bowers and the Board are continuing to implement the Board's vision and mission as outlined in the Strategic Planning Framework. This includes a strategic focus on improving outcomes in literacy and mathematics, and accountability.

The school board that oversees the nation’s 17th largest school system continues to carry out the very same programs and agendas that Starr introduced.

“You have different leaders at different times, for different reasons. And I’m glad to see that the core work that we started when I got here in 2011 seems to be continuing," Starr said. 

So, if the school board and the superintendent were all in agreement on the framework for education in Montgomery County, why was Starr forced out? The answer is still unclear. The school board will only say it is a personnel matter.

“Because I didn't have the votes, there was absolutely no point in trying to fight it out in any way, so I chose to resign,” said Starr. “Not because I didn't want the job, but because it was clear, and I didn't feel it was appropriate or responsible to drag the board and the community into a fight about it that wouldn't serve anybody well.”

After serving 10 years as a superintendent and 22 years in public schools, Starr says he is enjoying spending more time with his family. However, Starr says he misses spending time with the kids and supporting the principals and educators.

“There are things I miss about it. I loved being a superintendent,” Starr replied. “Everything you do in life, there are always regrets, but there's also opportunities to do new work, and that’s what I’m really focused on now.”

PDK International, Starr’s new employer, just released its 47th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the public’s attitude toward public schools. The majority of parents surveyed are concerned about the amount of testing students face, want more qualified teachers and believe teachers in the U.S. do not make enough money.

Read more about the poll: http://pdkpoll2015.pdkintl.org/

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