Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education appointed Lily Lake-Parcan to become principal at Germantown’s struggling Neelsville Middle School. The announcement was made during the board of education’s regular business meeting held on Monday night at their Rockville offices.
Lake-Parcan replaces Dollye McClain, who left after the school failed to meet Academic Yearly Progress (AYP) goals earlier this year. Under the restructuring process provided by No Child Left Behind policies, McClain and the teaching staff at the middle school were offered a chance to reapply for their positions and MCPS officials said McClain declined.
Parcan, who is leaving her job as a director for middle school instruction and achievement, starts at her new position on today.
“I am really excited,” Parcan said. “I am excited for the chance to go back to middle school to work with the staff and the parents and everybody.”
Montgomery County Public Schools Chief of Staff Brian Edwards said as a 22 year MCPS veteran, Parcan stood out from a group of four candidates.
“(Parcan) is a veteran principal,” Edwards said. “She has had a tremendous history working for MCPS and a tremendous wealth of experience. She helped turn around Silver Spring International and I am sure parents will see what we saw in her.”
Parcan started her career as head start teacher at Goshen Elementary School in Gaithersburg. She worked her way up, becoming the director of middle school instruction and achievement.
Turning around an underperforming middle school is something she has done before. In 2005 when Silver Spring International Middle School was a step above restructuring, she applied to become principal. Parcan said she helped the school meet academic yearly progress (AYP) goals, sometimes seeing percentage improvement in the double digits.
Despite the challenge of climbing AYP targets, Parcan said academic improvement will happen, but it will happen over time. She added that she was not going to Neelsville with a laundry list of things and required changes.
“When I first arrive at Neelsville I am going to pay attention,” she said. “I am not thinking about changes right away. It is important for me to see what’s working and what’s not and to see in what ways we can start improving. I am not going there with a plan like this is what needs improving.”
The fact that teachers are teaching is not enough, said Parcan. She said she wants students to learn, which takes a community effort.
“I am just one person and I cannot do it,” Parcan said. “But I am 100-percent committed to the students. I cannot wait to get in there and meet with parents and staff and students. I have no doubt that students at Neelsville can learn, we just need to make sure these kids are getting the best possible education."
Parcan is planning an open house in August to meet with parents and teachers.