Damascus Principal Named Acting Montgomery Blair Administrator

Montgomery Blair High School Principal Renay Johnson retires at the end of the month. Here’s what she told MCM about the hiring process to replace her.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has named Kevin Yates, who had announced his retirement as Damascus High School principal, to replace Johnson for the upcoming school year.Yates spent Monday at Montgomery Blair High School, walking the halls and meeting with Principal Johnson.

During the summer, Assistant Principal Adriana Burgos will lead the school. Yates will become acting principal for the 2024-2025 school year.

Meanwhile, MCPS will conduct a national search for a permanent principal for the 2025-2026 school year.

Johnson has been Blair’s principal for 13 years and is its first female principal.

She informed district officials of her decision in January, and they have been unsuccessful in naming her replacement so far, she told MCM during an interview about her career.

Three candidates were highlighted during an initial search, but not all were interviewed, so the district readvertised the position, Johnson explained. In the next round, two favorably considered candidates took positions elsewhere, she said.

When asked why some candidates withdrew from contention, she said the job could be overwhelming. With 3,217 students, Montgomery Blair has the largest enrollment in both Montgomery County and Maryland.

“It’s a city,” she said.

MCM spoke with Johnson about her 33 years with Montgomery County Public Schools. Later this week, her reflections on students, police in schools, and retirement will be featured here.

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