The following is a statement from Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, on the resignation of Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight.
We thank Dr. McKnight for her distinguished service and her leadership of MCPS as it emerged from the COVID pandemic and confronted a multitude of unprecedented challenges.
Leading the 14th largest school system in the country is not an easy task. We have always especially appreciated Dr. McKnight’s sincere intent in confronting school-based racism, antisemitism, and hatred, which remains a major crisis within MCPS. Her presence at Walt Whitman High School on the night after a horrific incident of antisemitic vandalism, her implementation of new bias incident reporting policies and procedures, and her willingness to engage directly with Jewish students and community members at town halls at several synagogues, all demonstrated her desire to address the Jewish community’s concerns.
During this period of transition amid the search for a new superintendent, we strongly encourage the Board of Education to take a more active, visible role in addressing worsening antisemitism and to engage more directly with Jewish parents, students, and educators. The next superintendent must commit to creating a culture of greater transparency and accountability, one that does not tolerate, excuse, or ignore hate, and one that is sensitive to and respectful of the diverse mosaic of identities within MCPS.
In the meantime, we will continue working in partnership with senior administrators throughout MCPS to address skyrocketing antisemitism and other forms of hatred, and to promote learning environments where all students can thrive and realize their full potentials.