UPPER MARLBORO – On July 23, the Prince George’s County Board of Education announced Dr. Monica Goldson as the Interim Chief Executive Officer for the 2018-2019 school year.
“I believe that Dr. Goldson is the right person at the right time to lead our school system,” said County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. “She believes that every child has greatness in them and that it is her job to lead and to help them grow. I’m confident that she will move us in the right direction.”
With 27 years’ worth of experience, Goldson has worked the entirety of her career within the Prince George’s County school system, climbing steadily up the career leader from a mathematics teacher at Suitland High School to Interim CEO of the entire county.
In 2012, she became the COO, where she directed several major divisions and offices within the county while creating and enacting policies relating to service delivery, and worked to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness within the school system.
Later in 2016, Goldson became the Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, in which her responsibilities dealt with “curriculum and instruction, special education, testing, college and career readiness, and student services.”
As the new Interim CEO of PGCPS, however, she will undertake a multitude of new responsibilities, including supervising preparations for the upcoming school year, and working to improve the school district by focusing on academic excellence, high-performing workforce, safe and supportive environments, family and community engagement, and organizational effectiveness.
Goldson begins her tenure through the reorganization of central office executive-level and managerial positions within PGCPS, in a mobilized effort to redirect a goal of $1 million in funds and resources to schools.
This decision will mean that “all non-essential central office hiring is frozen until further notice. Several offices and positions will be reorganized, realigned, reclassified or eliminated.” This model eliminates two deputy superintendent positions while creating three new positions: Chief Accountability Officer, Chief of Special Education and Student Services, and Chief of School Leadership and Support.
“This model will enhance school oversight, reduce bureaucratic excess and improve central office transparency and accountability,” statesd Goldson in a PGCPS press release. “My focus is on strengthening system oversight and delivery of instruction in our schools.”
Goldson predicts that allocation of these funds will be made to schools in November or December.
Goldson will also be working to restructure area offices to categorized levels of elementary, middle,and high school, which will allow for a more organized and centralized system that will focus on the specialized needs of each school level.
“What we used to have is a K-12 structure, now we will have an elementary school structure, middle school structure, and high school structure. That will allow the schools at each level to receive concentrated professional development on the needs of that specific school-level environment,” said Goldson. “This will eliminate some of the bureaucracy that took place, and (allow) parents to have their voice heard and get their problems resolved in a more timely fashion. We will be placing parent support in each of those three area offices so that a parent can contact that specific area office based on their child’s grade level if they need support and assistance.
“This should provide us an opportunity to make sure that all the schools at that level get the same message in terms of what’s expected, and how to support them.”
One of Goldson’s other initiatives includes the creation of a compensation, restoration task force that is responsible for brainstorming solutions to restore compensation that was lost during the 2010-2012 period, a period where the county suffered from significant financial restraints, including the pay freezes of all employees, and the furloughing of many, according to Goldson. The compensation, restoration task force will be made of all union partners.
“Unions that represent our teachers, our administrators, and our support staff, to look at ways to try to close the compensation gap,” said Goldson. “And through that task force, we will be able to look at ways that we can streamline programs that are ineffective, and converse with outside agencies to find ways to gather the money that we will need in order to compensate staff from the time that was lost during those years.”
Goldson will also be utilizing a data analysis monitoring tool to track the progression of student achievement not only within specialty programs but throughout the 207 schools in the county.
“That monitoring tool allows us to kind of dig deeper into what kind of support each of the schools needs, in order to meet their annual goal, which is ultimately to increase student achievement,” Goldson said.
Goldson’s appointment follows the resignation of Dr. Kevin Maxwell, the former PGCPS CEO whose tenure was riddled with scandal and his legacy has left some questioning the transparency of the BOE. The new CEO, however, is working to regain the trust of the community.
“It’s important that everyone knows what’s happening, what’s taking place, and it’s important for us to provide the narrative of what’s going, and provide accurate information so that all of our stakeholders- family and community members- are aware of what’s going on in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
“Also, I will be doing listening and learning tours in the community, as well as with our staff and our students. That allows me an opportunity to hear about the great things that are going on that we need to continue to sustain, and those things that we need to improve with recommendations on how to improve.”
Goldson also notes that the commitment of the BOE will inevitably help to aid the progression of the county, and regain the confidence of the public.
“I think all of the members are committed to making sure that the focus remains on students, and because of that commitment, I believe that we’ll have a productive school year: that staff, students, parents and community members will see a board that’s engaged, and that will hold me accountable for the things that I stated I would do for this school year,” Goldson said.
Many members of the community believe that Goldson is capable of refocusing the county’s interest towards its main stakeholders: its students.