Rockville High principal up for superintendent position on West Coast -- Gazette.Net


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After working for nearly a decade to change the culture at Rockville High School, Principal Debra Munk may be moving on.

Munk was identified Friday as one of three finalists for superintendent of Ashland School District in Ashland, Ore.

Munk, of Kensington, said Tuesday she is honored to be considered for the position, where she would be overseeing about 3,000 students and 300 teachers, principals and administrators in six schools.

“I’ve come to my point in my career where I just felt I would be able to have a larger realm of influence,” said Munk, who has been leading about 1,265 students and 150 staff members at Rockville High since July 2005.

Munk is up against the superintendent of Red Bluff Union School District in California and superintendent of Mercer Island School District in Washington, according to the Ashland district website. A selection will be announced the last week of February.

The website, Rockville Patch, first reported she was a finalist for the job on Friday.

Munk said the move would be hard, as she has become attached to her school and community.

Munk started her career in 1985 as an English teacher at Poolesville Junior/Senior High School. She also taught at Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Richard Montgomery high schools before working as a principal at Middletown Middle and High schools in Frederick.

When Munk got to Rockville High eight years ago, she said the school was not academically performing as it should have been, and it had a bad reputation.

Her greatest task, she said, was turning around the “culture of inferiority” at the school.

To appeal to Rockville’s diverse population, Munk said she brought in programs such as International Baccalaureate, Project Lead the Way, an engineering program, and AVID, a program for students connecting students to college.

By 2010, Munk doubled the number of Hispanic and African-American students passing the HSAs, according to a school system document.

“We really try to make every kid reach,” she said.

For her accomplishments, she received the Montgomery County Public Schools 2010 Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony award.

The move would place Munk closer to three of her children, who live in the Pacific Northwest, but keep her at a school district where she knows education is valued, she said.

“I needed to be at a place where people value education and were willing to support it financially,” she said.

If she doesn’t get the job, Munk said she is “just fine,” at Rockville High.

“Don’t rule me out yet,” she said.

jbondeson@gazette.net