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Posted at 8:34 AM ET, 08/24/2010

MoCo school chief Jerry Weast to retire

By Washington Post editors

Montgomery County schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2011 school year, bringing a long run as head of one of the country's top school systems to a close.

Weast has been superintendent of Montgomery County schools for 11 years, and is among the nation's longest serving school leaders. He notified the school board in a memo Tuesday that he would be leaving when his current contract expires on June 30, 2011.

Jerry Weast talks with kids at Rolling Terrace Elementary School in June 2009. (Linda Davidson/Post)

"The success our students have achieved over the last 11 years is a testament to the leadership of the Board, the amazing dedication, talent and professionalism of our staff, the unyielding support of our parents and the hard work of our students, who, each time we raised the bar, always met or exceeded our expectations," Weast stated.

Weast first became a superintendent at 28 in his native Kansas. He arrived in Rockville in 1999, vowing to end a persistent achievement gap between white and Asian students and black and Hispanic students. The school system is now a large, diverse model for academic reform.

The share of black students who graduate with a passing score on at least one Advanced Placement test has doubled since 2000, and the reading scores for blacks and whites has narrowed from 32 points to 13.

VIDEO: Weast celebrates a decade on the job (July 2009)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Weast's tough tests

Jerry Weast Timeline

Montgomery County schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast has been one of the longest serving superintendents among the nation's biggest school districts. Here are some significant dates in his career:

1969: Completed B.S. and started teaching accounting and psychology in Kansas high schools.

1972: Promoted to principal in McCune, Kansas at age 24.

1976: Named superintendent of schools in Uniontown, Kansas, at 28.

1978-93: Served as superintendent in Towanda and Coffeyville, Kansas; Great Falls, Montana; Durham, N.C.; and Sioux Falls, S.D.

1993: Named superintendent of 61,000-student Guilford County Schools in North Carolina.

1999: Appointed superintendent of 140,000-student Montgomery County schools.

2009: 10-year anniversary as Montgomery County superintendent.

August 24, 2010: Weast announces he will retire at the end of the school year.

By Washington Post editors  | August 24, 2010; 8:34 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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It's about time.

Posted by: webfool | August 24, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Weast continuously serach for and found ways to improve an already excellent public school system. MoCo schools are repeatedly ranks among the best in the country and he can retire proudly based on his acheivements. My hope is that he has trained an able successor. Best of luck in retirement.

Posted by: free-donny | August 24, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Now Montgomery County Public School students can receive their Constitutionally guaranteed free public education! An end to the illegal class fees that have been charged in MCPS!

And a return to an open procurement process. No more surprise $14 million + procurements without Board of Education discussion or approval!

Posted by: jzsartucci | August 24, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Those fees should not be a problem now. Under Weast's leadership, Maryland public schools just won a $250,000,000 grant from President Obama's "Race to the Top" initiative. I might add, that as far as fee's go, my kids education is the BEST investment I've ever laid money on.

Posted by: free-donny | August 24, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

@ free-donny

What exactly do you think the fees you pay for your child to attend public school classes go to? Please detail. Because there are no public records of how those fees are used. The fees do not go into the MCPS Operating Budget, do not pay teacher salaries and do not pay for buildings.
If you want to teach your children about extortion, this would be the perfect example of how it works on a large scale.

Posted by: jzsartucci | August 24, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Weast has done an outstanding job as superintendent. In particular, I appreciate his commitment to excellence, his focus on raising achievement levels of minority students, and his partnership with parents. We are very grateful to him and the wonderful teachers of Montgomery County. Our son is a product of the system, from kindergarten through high school and is now a successful student at Yale University. We know that Bannockburn, Pyle, and Whitman provided a strong foundation for our son's success at university. Thank you, Dr. Weast! We wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Posted by: amychan | August 25, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

While I applaud Dr. Weast's efforts at reducing the achievement gap between white and minority students, I could never perceive him as an outstanding superintendent because of his actions related to my daughter's middle school. As a parent of a former student at Silver Spring International Middle School, I watched with horror as he used an extremely heavy handed approach to deal with a math cheating scandal. He suspended the entire math department for one grade as well as the beloved and extremely competent principal of the school because of the actions of one wayward math teacher. Parents and students alike were devasted because the visionary principal and dedicated teachers had been providing excellent leadership and math education in this new and diverse school in lower Montgomery County. Dr. Weast's actions came across as arrogant and abusive particularly when he refused to meet with concerned parents. Although the teachers were eventually reinstated, students had weeks of wasted classroom time while re-runs of old movies were shown. The principal was demoted and not allowed to return to the school she loved and had been leading so competently.
It was a terrible message to the students who, instead of learning that cheating is wrong, learned that an adult could arbitrarily abuse his power and in the process punish many innocent people along the way. My daughter's middle school years were marked by this experience as well as by 9/11 and the sniper incidents. However, of all three experiences, to this day, the one she has remembered most vividly and with the most anger and sadness,(she is now a senior in college) was the one in which she lost her beloved principal and math teacher. Dr. Weast showed neither leadership nor compassion in this instance.

Posted by: Laurie24 | August 25, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse


Excellent comment. Note that Jay Matthews most admires Weast's abritrariness, while ignoring or downplaying the reduction of the achievement gap. A little backwards? At least you don't live in DC or Fairfax Co. Virginia. Those school systems would never back off on a poor decision and you would have lost those teachers forever.

Posted by: mcstowy | August 26, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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