On Nov. 2, residents of Montgomery County will be able to vote for candidates for Districts 1, 3 and 5 and at-large for the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education. Despite what district voters lives in, they will be able to vote for the open seats in all districts and the at-large candidates. The at-large seat represents the interests of residents countywide. Patch reached out to all school board candidates and will report their answers as they come in. Some have yet to respond, but we will run their answers if they get them into us before the election.
Michael Durso, a Silver Spring resident, has been an educator for 44 years, including 13 years with Montgomery County Public Schools as principal of Springbrook High School from 1996-2009. He also served as the principal at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Va. and as principal at Woodrow Wilson High School and Lincoln Junior High School in Washington, D.C.. He began his career as a Social Studies teacher.
Patch: What are your top two priorities should you win?
Michael Durso: If successful on November 2nd, I will primarily focus on the upcoming budget, and the search for a new Superintendent.
Patch: How do you rate the current Board of Education?
MD: Not counting the new SMOB, I am the newest member of the current board, having served since July 1, 2009. I think overall, our BOE has done a credible job, and deserves to return (those 4 running) for another four years. I think you will observe a very engaged and concerned board in the coming months ahead.
Patch: What will you look for in a new superintendent?
MD: An individual with a range of educational experiences, comfortable with the challenges of diversity, a listener, collaborator and consensus builder. I would also hope that the next Superintendent has a working knowkedge of local, state, and national education issues, as well as practical experience in fiscal managrement.
Patch: What is lacking in the Montgomery County Curriculum?
MD: I'm not sure I would address what is lacking, but more pointedly are we insuring that all of our students are equally exposed to the MCPS curriculum, regardless of their academic or grade level.
Patch: How does the MCPS BOE continue the work it's done with the achievement gap with less resources ?
MD: That will most likely be the biggest issue facing this board in 2011-2012, and for years to come. We might have to make some very difficult decisions concerning staffing levels, and continuation of certain programs. With our budget consisting of nearly 90 percent in personnel, it will be next to impossible not to address staffing.