WASHINGTON – In Montgomery County, principals are being urged to join the Twitterverse by Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr, who finds it a great way to reach out to the community and to recognize teachers and principals. Starr says he’s been on Twitter for about a year.
By one count, about 25 Montgomery County principals are on Twitter and more are joining every day.
“There’s a very prestigious new award in Montgomery County Public schools, the ‘Tweeter of the Month award'” he says, only half-joking. “It’s given to anybody who has started to use it, and has used it in effective ways.”
But Twitter can be addictive, too. Starr says he knows it frustrates some people, but he doesn’t reply to Tweets “because once you start going back and forth, it gets endless.”
Starr says he does write his own tweets, joking that it makes his press office nervous. Except for a couple of misspellings, he says he doesn’t think he has tweeted anything that he’s regretted.
The superintendent has some basic rules. He keeps all tweets professional, and uses the medium to congratulate staff or to highlight best practices.
When it comes to teachers tweeting, Starr says he understands there are challenges.
“I think there are some real concerns about how students and teachers interact,” he says. “Be smart, use common sense and be very, very careful when interacting with kids in using any kind of social media.”
So far, Starr has 1,460 followers. He jokes that the numbers surge when the snow starts to fly — people want to get the latest on snow closings. But he still does that the old fashioned way, conferring with officials before making the final decision.
Who’s on Twitter? Here are some handles:
@PrincipalLES, Laytonsville Elementary School
@Kingsviewms, Principal Thomas at Kingsview Middle School
@marcjcohen, Seneca Valley High School Principal Marc Cohen
@PrincipalEwald, John D. Ewald, Principal at College Gardens Elementary School
@thecreekprin, Greg Edmundson, Principal at Great Seneca Creek Elementary School
@RTPincipal1, Jennifery Connors, Rolling Terrace Elementary School
@blairprincipal, Principal Renay Johnson, Montgomery Blair High School