It will be a bittersweet goodbye for John D. Ewald.
The College Gardens principal resigned Thursday, after 26 years working for Montgomery County Public Schools, to take a job as superintendent of Laurel Public Schools in Delaware.
Assistant Principal Stacey Rogovoy will take over as interim principal for the rest of the school year.i
“MCPS will forever be with me and I hope I forever in it,” Ewald wrote in his resignation letter, dated Sept. 19. “I am thrilled to be entering this new phase of my career ... However, I am saddened to be leaving my MCPS family.”
Ewald, 49, has worked as a principal, administrator or teacher at seven Montgomery County schools, and has represented his fellow principals in many leadership roles, such as the instructional leader of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.
He said he will now oversee 2,100 students and six schools in Laurel, hoping to use Montgomery County’s school system as a model for his work.
“It is a hard choice, especially in a principal’s role,” he said Thursday. “Principals are very committed to their schools and to their students.”
When he came to College Gardens in 2010, he told The Gazette he hoped to have a good time — he told stories of letting students turn him into a human sundae, and painting his fingers and toes school colors.
In his resignation letter on Wednesday, he wrote he was most proud of his students’ and staff’s success, his work as a principal leader, and for his efforts to build relationships between the school and its community, and school principals and central office.
His last day at the Rockville school will be Sept. 28.
Montgomery schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr congratulated Ewald in a statement released Thursday.
“John is an outstanding educational leader and I know he will be a great superintendent,” Starr wrote.
Ewald started at Takoma Park Middle School as a physical education resource teacher before working in schools across the county as a physical education teacher, assistant principal, principal intern and principal.
He said he appreciates how committed the school system is to providing resources and support to schools.
Ewald has a bachelor’s degree in physical education from University of Maryland, College Park, a master’s degree in teaching/coaching and exercise science from Western Maryland College, and he will be going to George Washington University in the spring to start on a doctorate degree.
“I will be visiting classrooms Monday, saying goodbye to all of my students,” he said. “That is very heartwrenching to me, but I believe it is very important for my students and me to have closure.”
Starr said he is confident that, as interim principal, Rogovoy will “build on the great work that John has done.”
At College Gardens, more than 90 percent of the students passed state exams last year.
“We look forward to collaborating with the staff and parents in the spring to select a new principal that will continue the history of excellence at College Gardens,” Starr said.