Houston School Official Likely New MCPS Superintendent

Dr. Andrew Houlihan PHOTO | Houston Independent School District

Dr. Andrew Houlihan
PHOTO | Houston Independent School District

UPDATED, May 15, 11:30 a.m. – Andrew Houlihan, the chief academic officer of the Houston Independent School District, who is the “preferred candidate” to replace Dr. Joshua Starr as Montgomery County Schools superintendent met with Council President George Leventhal Friday.


ORIGINAL – Andrew Houlihan, the chief academic officer of the Houston Independent School District, is the frontrunner to be the new superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools.

According to the Houston Independent School District website, Houlihan is responsible for the academic growth of nearly 210,000 students and almost 300 schools. MyMCMedia could not immediately reach Houlihan for comment.

Houlihan, who has been with HISD since 2010, previously served as the chief human resources officer, chief major projects officer, a school support officer, and the principal of Parker Elementary School, according to the website.

Before joining HISD, he served as the assistant director of the Leadership Development Center in the Austin Independent School District and the director of the Education Leadership Institute at the International Center for Leadership in Education in New York. He began his career in North Carolina as a second-grade lead teacher at A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C.

MCPS launched its search for a new superintendent in February when Dr. Joshua Starr left his post prior to the end of his contract. Larry Bowers has been serving as the school system’s interim superintendent since Starr’s departure. The school system hired a search firm and held community meetings to find his replacement.

Here is what MCPS Board President Patricia O’Neill wrote in her blog post today on the MCPS website:

I want to provide an update to you on the search for our new superintendent of schools. The Board of Education is continuing the search process and has identified a preferred candidate for the position—Dr. Andrew Houlihan, who is currently serving as chief academic officer of the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

Our national search has attracted interest from a diverse pool of applicants who represent a wide array of experiences and expertise. 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.

Dr. 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 today (Thursday, May 14). I assembled this panel to provide feedback and insight to Board members as we approach a final decision. We have begun 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 Dr. Houlihan’s colleagues. We will then consider the interviews, community feedback, and the findings during the site visit before making a final decision. We still expect to have a new superintendent in place by July 1, 2015.

My Board colleagues and I want to thank those of you who have participated in the search process and have taken the time to share your thoughts with us. We look forward to working with you and our next superintendent to provide our students with a world-class education that prepares them to thrive in their future.

With regards,
Patricia B. O’Neill

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Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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