Dr. Thomas Taylor takes over as MCPS superintendent

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

Dr. Taylor, who currently serves as superintendent for Stafford County Public Schools, was appointed Tuesday after the Montgomery County school board voted unanimously.

After a months-long search, board members first introduced Taylor as their final pick on June 17.

"The board is confident in Dr. Taylor’s leadership and looks forward to working with him to support all students and all employees," MCPS Board President Karla Silvestre said Tuesday.

Taylor has more than 25 years of experience as an educator, according to board members. 


His incoming tenure as MCPS superintendent comes months after the contentious resignation of Dr. Monifa McKnight, who stepped down in February amid scrutiny over how the district handled sexual harassment and bullying claims against now former middle school principal Joel Beidleman.


Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and MCPS part ways

Nearly two weeks after being asked to resign, Dr. Monifa McKnight agreed mutually with Montgomery County Board of Education to separate, effective Feb. 2.

During the national search, Dr. Monique Felder served as interim superintendent. It is unclear whether she was considered for the position of superintendent.

"Dr. Felder saw us through an important period of transition with steady and thoughtful leadership. We express our appreciation for Dr. Felder’s service and wish her well on her future endeavors," Silvestre said Tuesday. 

David Stein, president-elect of the Montgomery County Education Association, said restoring trust is one of the biggest tasks before Taylor. MCEA represents about 14,000 employees within MCPS.

"There’s a serious trust deficit that he’s going to need work on. He’s going to need to bring in the employees who, right now, morale is quite low. He’s going to need to build that up," Stein said. "He’s going to need to build in the community input, so people can start trusting the school system again."

Aside from overall trust, Stein said budget transparency will also be an important issue he’d like to see Taylor address. Stein added that he is optimistic and hopes the superintendent will work closely with the union. 

"They both have the same interests at heart, which is building up our school system into a world-class system," he said. "Ideally, they work very close together. With certain superintendents, that has happened. With other superintendents, they have kept the unions at arm's length, which is not very productive in my view." 

Taylor did not have prepared remarks Tuesday as he was officially appointed superintendent by the board. 

His new role begins July 1 under a 4-year contract.