Administrator to Leave

Deputy Superintendent James A. Williams will leave Montgomery County schools to look for a position elsewhere.

At the Board of Education Monday night, Williams joked that at his size -- six feet two inches tall and more than 200 pounds -- nobody was forcing him out of his job. Instead, he said he is following a passion.

"Somebody must help poor and minority kids," he said. "Either I can do it now, or I can retire."

The board approved as his replacement Gregory E. Thornton, community superintendent for the Blair, Einstein and Kennedy clusters.

In other changes in school administration, Louis D. Martinez, a community superintendent in Montgomery public schools, was chosen to run the 22,000-student school system in Las Cruces, N.M., starting this summer. He was unanimously selected by the Las Cruces board on Saturday.

The Las Cruces student body is nearly two-thirds Hispanic. In his new job, Martinez will be responsible for a $200 million district budget and 33 schools. His two-year contract provides a $130,000 annual salary.

Emergency Readiness

A live call-in program on school preparedness for emergencies will air on Montgomery County public schools Cable Channel 34 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Parents and community members can call 301-279-3234 with questions or send an e-mail to www.viewpoint@mcps.tv during the program.

Participants in a panel discussion will include Gordon A. Aoyagi, director of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services; Judith Covich, senior administrator for school health with the county Department of Health and Human Services; Susan Marks, community superintendent; and Edward Clarke, director of the school system's Department of School Safety and Security.

Catholic Schools' Fair

Parents and middle and high school students interested in Catholic schools can meet representatives from area institutions and gather information about instruction, financial aid and admissions from 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 9. The fair will be at St. Jane Frances de Chantal School at 9525 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda.

For more information, see www.catholicschoolswork.org.

Ethics Panel Opening

The Board of Education is seeking candidates to fill an opening on its three-member ethics panel. The three-year term begins July 1.

The panel advises the board on ethics matters, conducts hearings on complaints and approves financial disclosure forms. Members must be county residents; they and their spouses must not be employees of the school system.

A letter of interest and resume are required; the application deadline is April 30. For more information, call 301-279-3301.

-- Linda Perlstein