Dr. Thomas Taylor sets priorities in first week as Montgomery County superintendent

Montgomery County’s new superintendent has completed his first week on the job.

Dr. Thomas Taylor was appointed to lead the school system by the Montgomery County Board of Education in late June. 

During the summer months, Taylor said the focus is meeting internal staff and visiting schools.

He mentioned that he has already visited some schools and met some students who are currently enrolled in summer classes.

"It’s a little surreal, but very exciting to be back home. I am thrilled to be in Montgomery County," Taylor said Friday in a one-on-one interview with FOX 5.

Taylor graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School before completing his higher education, where he eventually began to teach at and lead school districts. 


Dr. Thomas Taylor takes over as MCPS superintendent

Montgomery County Public Schools leaders have appointed Dr. Thomas Taylor as the district’s new superintendent.

He most recently served as superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools, which has about 32,000 students enrolled.

Montgomery County Public Schools is the largest school district in Maryland with over 160,000 students.

"I think my background in finance, as well as in education, is a good match for Montgomery County," Taylor said. "It’s no secret we have some challenges that we need to address both in our budget and some of our fiscal constraints, as well as coming back from the pandemic stronger than before in terms of our instructional outcome."

One of the challenges he recognized Friday was the budget and its constraints. Leading up to the June announcement of the board’s pick of Taylor being the next superintendent, various unions expressed the need for more transparency in the budget process.

READ MORE: MCPS misused emergency funds in sexual harassment investigation, new OIG report says

In a June interview with FOX 5, the Montgomery County Education Association president David Stein said there was an ongoing "trust deficit" that Taylor will need to be prepared to handle.

"He’s going to need to bring in the employees who, right now, morale is quite low," Stein said in June. "He’s going to need to build that up."

Teachers in Montgomery County during his time as a student are who inspired him to become an educator, Taylor said.

"They opened my eyes and opened my life to whole new experiences. There’s something magical about that. Supporting other teachers, supporting other educators, and having that opportunity to be in the classroom myself as a teacher … There’s nothing that beats it. It’s the best industry to be in," he said.

Taylor also acknowledged the concerns over transparency. 


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A lawsuit against the Montgomery County Board of Education and a now former middle school principal has been settled, the plaintiff’s attorney confirmed to FOX 5.

His adjustment to the role comes months after the contentious resignation of MCPS superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight, who resigned amid scrutiny over the district’s handling of sexual harassment and bullying allegations against now-former Farquhar Middle School, Dr. Joel Beidleman. 

He was promoted despite the allegations, under McKnight’s leadership.

The scandal was first reported by The Washington Post, which published an article this week indicating an apparent surge in complaints against MCPS that have been received by the Montgomery County Inspector General’s Office.

READ MORE: Teachers, parents protest proposed cuts to Montgomery County Public Schools budget

FOX 5 asked Taylor about the district’s reporting process on Friday.

"Part of my job as the superintendent is to preserve the things that are working really well, but to enhance the areas that are in need of improvement," he said. "When folks have a complaint, or they bring a perspective to the table of an issue that needs to be addressed, it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for us to get better. You’ll hear me say time and time again, it’s hard for us to be the best at everything even though this is a great school system. I want us to be the best at getting better. I want us to have that continuous improvement mindset." 

Building and restoring trust starts with listening, Taylor added.

"I think it’s really important for me to hear from different parts of our community, parts of our community that have been historically marginalized or felt that their voice has come out," he said. "Recently, I did a survey where I solicited some feedback on the things we should start doing and stop doing. Great ideas that we should continue to do, and we’re collecting that feedback, so we can share that with the community and hear what they have to say and get their reaction to even sharing out some of those ideas. That’s a critical first step."

Taylor said throughout the school year, there will be opportunities for public meetings to hear from the public. 

One is already scheduled for next week, specifically on the MVA virtual learning program.