More changes at the top in Montgomery County’s school system

Montgomery County made more changes to its top school leadership Tuesday, bringing in an educator from Baltimore as its chief academic officer.

Maria V. Navarro, acting chief academic officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, takes the job of chief academic officer in Montgomery County. With 151,000 students, Montgomery is Maryland’s largest and fastest-growing school system.

School officials said Navarro worked in Baltimore for five years, after serving as a senior level administrator for Christina School District in Delaware and as a teacher and administrator for Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School in the District.

Navarro’s hiring — approved by the school board Tuesday — comes at a time of other shifts in leadership.

She will step into a job presently held by Kimberly A. Statham, deputy superintendent of teaching, learning and programs, but with a new title that officials say better reflects the role.

At the same time, Statham was named to another top position: deputy superintendent for school support and improvement, a position that opened up when Beth Schiavino-Narvaez was hired as superintendent of Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut.

The changes in Montgomery were announced by Superintendent Joshua P. Starr, who said Navarro would become part of the district’s effort to work toward “closing the achievement gap and making sure all of our kids have what they need to thrive.”

School officials say Navarro, who starts in July, will oversee offices focused on student learning, including curriculum and instruction, community engagement, testing, accountability and special education.

Last month another top district official, Chief Operating Officer Larry A. Bowers, announced his plans to retire in June 2015 after more than 35 years with the school system. He will be replaced by Andrew Zuckerman, who has been chief of staff to Starr for the past year.

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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