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BOE Picks Favorite in Search for Superintendent


As the 2014-2015 school year winds down to its final weeks, the Montgomery County Board of Education has identified a preferred candidate to lead the school district for the 2015-2016 and beyond — Dr. Andrew Houlihan, who is currently serving as chief academic officer of the Houston Independent School District.

“Our search for a superintendent of schools has attracted interest from a diverse pool of applicants who represent a wide array of experiences and expertise,” said Patricia B. O’Neill, Board president. “After conducting a thorough review of the applications and conducting several in-person interviews, the Board feels that Dr. Houlihan has the right combination of experience, passion, and personality to serve MCPS. We look forward to learning more about him, his educational philosophy, and his vision for our district as we continue our extensive review process.”

The Board reviewed the applications and credentials of 25 candidates from 17 states and conducted in-person interviews with seven people—all of whom work in mid-sized to large districts as a superintendent, deputy superintendent, or senior executive.

Houlihan has served in a number of senior leadership roles in HISD — the nation’s 7th largest district — including chief officer in charge of major projects, school support, and human resources. In each of these roles, he has focused intensely on school improvement, including his work with 11 schools that are part of the district’s innovative Apollo 20 turnaround initiative. He has extensive experience working with schools that are highly impacted by poverty and has served as principal of a Title 1 school. He also has helped establish innovative programs in schools throughout HISD, including dual language and academy programs.

As part of the process, Dr. Houlihan met with a community panel of Montgomery County stakeholders. The community panel was assembled by the Board president to provide feedback and insight to Board members as they approach a final decision. The Board is in the process of reviewing and considering this feedback. In the coming weeks, a contingent of the Board will conduct a site visit to Houston to meet with stakeholders and Houlihan’s colleagues. The Board will then consider the interviews, community feedback, and the findings during the site visit before making a final decision.

The Board expects to have a new superintendent in place by July 1, 2015.