Montgomery County schools’ new head of accountability is well-versed in interpreting school data, but has some learning to do as he moves across state lines.
On March 21, the Montgomery County Board of Education appointed Geoffrey T. Sanderson as associate superintendent of the office of shared accountability. He is currently chief accountability officer for McKinney Texas Independent School District in McKinney, Texas.
Sanderson will start May 1. He is replacing Adrian B. Talley, who left the school system in July.
Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said the district is excited to have Sanderson, who has extensive experience in accountability.
The shared accountability office oversees testing, records, reporting, research, program evaluation and curriculum audits.
Moving from Texas, one of the only U.S. states not to adopt the Common Core State Standards, Sanderson will have to make himself more familiar with the new standards and new state tests coming down the pipeline.
He values state tests for the comparative data they provide, but believes that more should be considered when judging student success, such as college and career readiness.
Sanderson has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in school psychology. His background in using data comes from his work as a school psychologist, where he was trained in the use of diagnostic tests, research methods and data usage, he said.
Sanderson has been in his role for the last three years and has worked for the district for 11 total years, he said.
McKinney has been at the forefront of data usage, he said. The district developed a system where teacher, student and school data can be compiled and interpreted together. Sanderson said having the information in one place is crucial because it lets officials draw correlations between student outcomes and specific school operations, such as teacher tenure and training, attendance rates, and even average bus ride for students.
Sanderson said there is a science to creating student success, as much as there is an art to it.
Sanderson said he is “fired up” about coming to Montgomery County, which he considers “a major player in the scene.”
Sanderson has a local connection, as his wife was born and raised in Baltimore. He has two children, a first-grader and a third-grader.
“The opportunity in Montgomery County for me was about as ideal as it could be,” he said.