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Meet the New Boss

Potomac’s new principal brings a wealth of experience.

Potomac Elementary School’s new principal, Linda Goldberg, has been working as an educator for decades, but she’s only been in a Montgomery County school for a few months.

Goldberg had been interim principal at the school from August of 2002 until May 13, 2003, when she was appointed principal by the Board of Education.

“She has performed magnificently as the principal at Potomac Elementary. She was seen from the very first day as the likely permanent administrator,” said Brian Porter, spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools. Goldberg is the fourth principal in as many years, the other three leaving for a variety of reasons.

Goldberg has been glad to have the year to become acquainted with the community. “In a school like Potomac you certainly want the parents and the teachers to get the opportunity to get to know you,” she said.

The Hartford, Conn. native attended the University of Connecticut for her undergraduate degree. She has a masters from the University of Hartford, and taught at the inner-city schools there.

She also spent time working as a educational consultant for the U.S. State Department in Cuba and Mexico before settling down in Northern Virginia, where she has spent the majority of her career.

“She brings 40 years of experience in education to our school,” said Potomac PTA President Sandy Bonner.

THUS FAR, GOLDBERG is greatly enjoying working at Potomac.

“I think it’s the best staff I’ve ever worked with,” she said. “I’m loving coming across the bridge in the morning. I’m loving getting to know Montgomery County,” said Goldberg, an Arlington, Va. resident.

She also enjoys Potomac Elementary in particular. “The kids in this school are so respectful,” she said. “It comes down to a real respect for learning.”

She is also grateful for the support she gets from the community. “Our parents are so willing to give of their time,” Goldberg said.

Her last long-term assignment was at Hunters Woods Elementary in Reston, Va., a school with an arts magnet program. She says that being in schools with such programs have helped her understand Potomac’s Chinese Immersion program.

“I’ve had schools that had a special program within the school,” she said.

She hopes to use those experiences to mitigate the tensions between Immersion and non-immersion parents.

“I think that we’re working on one Potomac Elementary,” Goldberg said. “There are certain issues that are important across the school.”

TWO ISSUES THAT cause concern for all parents at Potomac Elementary are overcrowding and security issues highlighted last October.

While acknowledging that she would prefer to have all the students inside the building, Goldberg does not think that the trailers at the school are a major issue. She noted that while in the trailer, students are less distracted by outside noises and enjoy perks like individual thermostats.

“The teachers don’t mind them, the students don’t mind them,” she said.

One of her first major challenges at the school came last October, just after arriving in the school, when students spent much of the month in a Code Blue lockdown due to the sniper attacks. “It’s just a different kind of time to begin,” she said.

Her philosophy during that time was to allow the school to continue as normally as possible. She concerned herself with security issues so that other members of the faculty would not have to.

“The most important role is instructional leadership in the school,” she said of how she likes to lead. “My role is to support them in any way I can.”

While her first year is coming to a close, she is not slowing down. The principal plans to attend several conferences and workshops with other teachers this summer relating to the development of a new arts program (see story on page XX).

“We’re supposed to be winding down and yet there’s a bubble of enthusiasm,” she said.