Dr. Joshua P. Starr, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PDK International, began his tenure in 2015. From the start, Dr. Starr has overseen numerous milestones for the venerable organization, including the relocation of its headquarters to Arlington, VA, the 50th anniversary of the PDK Poll, and the centennial edition of Kappan magazine. Starr has also expanded the reach of Educators Rising, increased foundation support for all PDK’s programs, and renewed support for PDK members and other educator scholars. Under Dr. Starr’s leadership, PDK has solidified its position as a leading nonprofit serving K-12 educators and at the same time reaffirmed its commitment to embracing the complexity of challenges around our educational systems, the need to raise standards and funding universally, and the belief that the standards of excellence and equity are essential to better serve all of our children. 

 Dr. Starr began his career in public education in 1993, serving as a teacher, central office leader, and superintendent of schools. Dr. Starr is a passionate champion for all students and is committed to ensuring that PDK International continues to serve as a clarion and trusted voice that supports the teaching profession.

 As superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) from 2011 to 2015, Dr. Starr oversaw a very diverse school system of 154,000 students in 202 schools. Through an emphasis on equity, academics, creative problem solving, and social emotional well-being, MCPS saw an increase in graduation rates and Advanced Placement and SAT results and a decrease in suspensions. Dr. Starr oversaw the largest Chromebook deployment in the country, developed a new approach to identifying students in need of interventions, created a new accountability system based on multiple measures, oversaw the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) aligned curriculum, and greatly increased community and family engagement.

Dr. Starr was the superintendent in Stamford, CT, from 2005 to 2011, where he distinguished himself by increasing student achievement for all subgroups, emphasizing increased academic rigor, standardizing curriculum, advancing the use of technology, creating business and civic partnerships, and emphasizing community and family engagement efforts aimed at supporting all children in the classroom. Previously, he served at the executive level in the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in the nation, where he held the position of director of School Performance and Accountability. Dr. Starr’s first position with the New York City Department of Education was as deputy senior instructional manager. Dr. Starr began his career as a special education teacher, working with severely emotionally disturbed adolescents, in the New York City Public Schools. He has also served in administrative roles in Plainfield, New Jersey, and Freeport, New York. Dr. Starr holds a doctorate degree in administration and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has published articles in many journals in the field of education. Dr. Starr and his wife, Emma, have three children who attend public schools in Maryland.