Interim Prince George’s Schools CEO Goldson named to permanent job

Dr. Monica Goldson, the interim CEO of the Prince George’s County Public Schools, will take the job permanently, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Tuesday.

Alsobrooks made the announcement at a news conference shortly after noon. She called Goldson “a clear-cut choice and a very easy decision.”

Alsobrooks called Goldson “a daughter of Prince George’s County” who has been in the school system for 40 years, since she was a student at Barnaby Manor Elementary School. She also went to John Hanson Junior High School and Potomac High School.

She has also been a teacher at Suitland High School and principal at Frederick Douglass and Henry Wise high schools, Alsobrooks said. Her children are also students in the system. This broad experience gives Goldson “a 360-degree view of our system,” Alsobrooks said. “She has a complete and comprehensive understanding of our school system.”

Prince George’s County is Maryland’s second-largest school system. Goldson will have oversight of PGCPS’ 208 schools and centers, more than 130,000 students and nearly 19,000 employees.

Goldson thanked Alsobrooks for her “visionary leadership”; she thanked the School Board, she added that during her year as interim CEO, “We would not allow adult issues to take over,” and with her voice cracking, she thanked the workers of the school system, saying, “their voice is finally heard.”

She said, “I started out as a teacher, and I’m a CEO. And as I worked through this process, the only issue that I worried about was having to tell children that if someone else was selected, that they aren’t good enough to lead a district such as this. Because I’m cut from the same cloth they’re cut from.” She said she was the first woman native of the county to lead the school system in more than 100 years.

Goldson added that the system faced many challenges, but that “Those challenges can be overcome if we all come together.” She concluded by saying she was honored to lead “this amazing school district, one where I sat in the classroom and learned from teachers; one where my high school principal said he saw it in me when I didn’t see it in myself; one where I can tell every single kid that this can be you.”

‘She was our choice’

Members of the School Board, County Council and school labor boards joined in the announcement, praising Goldson’s selection.

Alvin Thornton, the chairman of the School Board, said that the board hoped Goldson would be selected. “She was our choice before she was your choice,” he told Alsobrooks.

Goldson, who was the school system’s Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, has served as the interim CEO since last July. Her appointment to a year term came after Kevin Maxwell left the school system under a cloud of controversy that included the collapse of the  federally funded Head Start grant program, as well as other scandals that include grade-changing and inflated graduated rates.

The county, as required by state law, conducted a nationwide search that selected 20 candidates. A three-person committee appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan narrowed the list to three finalists. Alsobrooks interviewed the candidates and selected Goldson from that list.

Goldson’s contract will be negotiated with the Prince George’s County Board of Education and vetted by the Maryland State Department of Education. Alsobrooks said it would be worked out by June 30, when Goldson’s interim appointment ends.

Maxwell headed PGCPS for five years. He had three years left on his contract and received a severance package of about $800,000.

After praising the new CEO, Alsobrooks added, “Dr. Goldson is not a magician,” and that continued improvement in the schools will rely on “our collective efforts. … This one is on us.”

She employed a sports metaphor: “The coach can create plays and put the best players in, but the coach can’t get on the field and win the game too. … Dr. Goldson’s success will be a reflection on all of us.”

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