Somebody wants the job.

Thirty candidates have applied for Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jerry Weast’s job and the Board of Education is “interviewing a limited group” of them.

According to a release posted on the MCPS website, the applicants came from 15 states and included “18 current superintendents, two central office administrators, three principals, three persons currently working in business organizations, and four individuals from other private sector organizations that focus on education.”

The board is identifying as many as three finalists, who will be interviewed soon by a community committee before the board interviews them again. The community committee includes representatives of the Montgomery County Council of Parent—Teacher Associations and the Gifted & Talented Association of Montgomery County, who’ve said they’ve been contacted, as well as “students, post-secondary institutions, parents, multicultural and civic organizations, special needs advocates, employee unions, businesses, career and technology associations, non-profit organizations, and county agencies.”

The board hasn’t yet released the list of participating organizations, according to MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig. Committee members won’t be allowed to speak publicly about the interviews.

According to the release, job finalists “will have gone through a screening interview, reference checks, and a complete and comprehensive background check conducted by an independent third party company.”

The board expects to select a candidate and start negotiations by May, and plans to name a new superintendent “well in advance” of the July start date for the job.

For an interesting take on the role of a schools chief in the age of school reform, check out “Bad Education” by Jonathan Mahler. Mahler suggests that opposing sides of school reform have become so entrenched that “it seems fair to wonder whether there can be such a thing as a successful schools chancellor…anywhere.”

Julie Rasicot

Julie Rasicot can be reached at julie.rasicot@bethesdamagazine.com