UPPER MARLBORO — County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Dr. Monica Goldson as the permanent CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) on June 18.
Goldson, who was chosen to serve as the interim CEO for the school system in July 2018, was selected from a pool of 20 candidates nationwide to become the permanent CEO of PGCPS.
“While I was impressed with the overall quality of all of the candidates, you should know that Dr. Monica Goldson was the clear cut choice,” Alsobrooks said.
Alsobrooks kicked off the search for a new CEO on May 13 with a public hearing to get comments from residents on what they would like to see in the next leader of PGCPS. Because Goldson came in as an interim, the county was required by law to conduct a formal search for a permanent CEO.
The three-member search committee consisted of Accokeek Academy PTSA President Hallie Williams, education advocate of over 40-years Oretha Bridgewater-Simms and Gen. William Sumpter. Search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates (HYA) was tasked with selecting candidates. The search committee narrowed it down to three candidates which Alsobrooks would choose from.
“I am honored to lead this amazing school system,” said Goldson, who took over the role following the resignation of former CEO Kevin Maxwell. “I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that today would be possible.”
Alsobrooks said she was excited to make Goldson the permanent CEO of PGCPS due to her “360-degree view of the school system.” The county executive added that she valued Goldson’s experience with PGCPS from all angles and bringing with her valuable institutional knowledge.
The county executive called her a “daughter of Prince George’s County,” as Goldson attended the county’s schools during her formative years as a child. She graduated from Potomac High School and came back to the school system, spending the entirety of her 30-year education career. She started as a mathematics teacher at Suitland High School and severed as the chief operating officer of PGCPS before being appointed as interim CEO.
“As I went through this process, the only issues that I worried about was having to tell children that if someone else was selected, that they aren’t good enough to be in a district such as this because I’m cut from the same cloth they are,” Goldson said. “So this journey is not about me. It truly is about our 134,000 students and our 22,000 employees.”
Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, Goldson has taken on a series of ambitious effort; the first being a reorganization of the school system’s central offices, which redirected $2.4 million back to the students.
Another highlight was starting an Adopt-A-School program, where businesses or community partners can become involved with helping a school through financial support and volunteering. Recently, Goldson announced the start of a salary restoration initiative for employees who were put on a salary freeze during the economic recession to slowly be given raises over the next few years. Lastly, as part of her Blueprint For PGCPS plan, Goldson announced that funds for the 2019-2020 school year will go towards extra mental health assistance and literacy programs.
Despite the many accomplishments made throughout the school year, Goldson acknowledged that there will be challenges ahead but can be overcome if everyone works together.
“As a parent, teacher, administrator and now CEO, I promise to continue to strive to maintain a culture of transparency, accountability and academic excellence,” she said.
Board of Education Chair Alvin Thornton said he was “thankful” for the decision to bring Goldson on as permanent CEO. He expressed how well the board members have worked with Goldson this year and how they hoped that she would be made their CEO.
“This event is so significant historically,” Thornton said. “Those of us who have been around for a while know the umbrella that we are trying to raise over our babies. It’s a long continuous journey and they deserve what they are receiving this morning, this umbrella of togetherness.”
Most of the members of the Prince George’s County Council attended the announcement, with Council Chair Todd Turner declaring that they welcome the selection of Goldson as CEO. Turner said that they have developed a productive relationship with her, especially when they worked together on the fiscal year 2020 budget.
“The county council looks forward to our continued work on behalf of the children and the other stakeholders in Prince George’s County schools. And we want to say congratulations and we look forward to the continued work together to make this the school system that we want,” he said.
Prince George’s County Educators Association (PGCEA) President Theresa Mitchell Dudley also expressed support for Goldson. As interim, Goldson has made progress in improving the school system, Dudley said. The sentiment comes after a year of constant advocacy for improved salaries for teachers and improving work conditions.
On June 20, the teachers union and PGCPS are set to sign a new contract with agreements on salary increases, smaller class sizes and less testing.
“We’re looking forward to the honoring of the contract,” Dudley said. “You can have all the contracts in the world but if it’s not honored it won’t work out, but I know that’s not going to be a problem.”
Throughout the contract negotiations, Dudley said Goldson’s approach was different from past CEOs. According to Dudley, Goldson took the Teacher Un-Appreciation Day protest on May 8 took it personally and her response was “so powerful” with a general interest in fixing the problem.
Although Goldson is now the permanent CEO and the outpouring of support for her in the room was clear, Alsobrooks said that she cannot change the trajectory of the school system alone. It will depend on the collective effort of school leadership, elected officials and the community as a whole.