The Washington Post

Montgomery school leaders join county delegation on 10-day trip to China

Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua P. Starr, school board Member Rebecca Smondrowski and two principals are part of a local delegation spending 10 days in China.

Educators on the trip include Joan Benz, principal of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, and Judy Brubaker, principal of Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School in Germantown. The group left Sunday and is expected to return Sept. 25.

School officials say the trip is intended to increase partnerships with China in areas including education. Benz will be signing an agreement with a school in China to do teacher and student exchanges. Brubaker hopes to develop “sister school” partnerships.

No operating budget or taxpayer dollars will be used, officials said.

Starr was invited on the trip by county leaders and has received no complaints from parents about traveling abroad as the school year begins, said Montgomery schools spokesman Dana Tofig. The superintendent is available by telephone and e-mail, he said.

Starr’s expenses and possibly some of those incurred by Benz will be covered by the Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation, officials said. The foundation had been involved in a partnership with Northern Ireland, which allowed travel back and forth, and remaining funds will be used.

Smondrowski and Brubaker are covering their own expenses, officials said.

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



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