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Stamford, Conn., Schools Chief Moving to Montgomery County, Md.

Joshua Starr, the superintendent of the 15,000-student Stamford district in Connecticut, has been chosen to succeed Jerry Weast, the retiring superintendent of the Montgomery County, Md., district in suburban Washington. With 144,000 students, Montgomery County is the 16th largest district in the country.

Weast's tenure in Montgomery County was unusually long for superintendents of large districts; he joined the system in 1999. In an article on Starr's selection in The Washington Post, the president of the Montgomery teacher's union said that Starr is "younger than [Weast] but equally energetic and open-minded." That union official, Doug Prouty, sat in on the superintendent candidate interviews.

The Stamford Advocate reported Tuesday that Starr, 41, received 3.9 out of 5 points on a written performance evaluation for 2009-10. He was praised for implementation of research-based techniques designed to address students' academic struggles and budget preparation. Areas in need of improvement were board communication, and communication with the public and other city entities.

Starr was also a finalist for the superintendent's position in Milwaukee in 2010, the newspaper said.

Starr began his career as a special education teacher in New York schools. He rose through the ranks to become that city's director of school performance and accountability. He received a doctorate and master's degree from the Harvard University graduate school of education, as well as a master's degree in special education from Brooklyn College.

"The contexts of Stamford and Montgomery County are very similar and I look forward to working with the Board, staff and community to build on the great strengths of MCPS," Starr said in a statement. He is scheduled to start his new position July 1.

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