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Former Montgomery County schools chief named to new position with Minnick Schools

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Former Montgomery County schools Superintendent Mark Miear is joining Minnick Schools as the new assistant director of education, the organization recently announced.

“We’re very excited to bring Mark Miear on to our team,” Margaret Holland, the chief engagement officer for nonprofit enCircle, said Wednesday. “We’re very impressed by his 30 years in education, the expertise he has built up and relationships he’s built up in Virginia, particularly in Southwest Virginia.”

Minnick Schools is the education division of enCircle, which up until a few years ago was known as the Lutheran Family Services of Virginia. The nonprofit operates seven private day schools in five different localities that focus on students with special needs. The localities are Roanoke, Wytheville, Wise, Bristol and Harrisonburg.

About 200 students attend the schools each year and they come from nearly 30 different divisions from across Western Virginia, Holland said.

In his new function, which he’s set to start July 11, Miear will focus on the development and expansion of programs in Wytheville, Roanoke and Harrisonburg, according to the recent announcement from enCircle. Miear’s salary was not disclosed.

Holland noted Miear’s start in the field as a one-to-one aid in special education. She said his experience in the area of special education was one point that helped him stand out.

On a greater scale, Miear will help with further developing career and technical education offerings and the identification of potential new sites for the private day schools, Holland said. The former Montgomery County schools chief will work in partnership with a number of local school divisions, she said.

Holland pointed out his experience developing career and technical education — or CTE — while with Montgomery County schools.

Miear himself was reached Wednesday, but directed questions about his new job to enCircle.

Miear joined Montgomery County schools in early 2016 and worked with the district until this past March when the school board unanimously decided to end his contract “without cause,” a move that ignited much speculation in the community.

Prior to joining Montgomery County Public Schools, Miear had served as assistant superintendent for Winchester Public Schools. He had also previously served as a director of secondary education, a high school principal, a high school associate principal, an assistant director of personnel and a history teacher.

Miear’s academic credentials include a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Virginia. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Miear led the Montgomery County system during a time in which several capital projects and numerous technology related improvements were either completed or planned.

The Christiansburg strand of schools, which has long struggled with overcrowding, received attention during Miear’s tenure. The former district chief was at the helm when planning started for the expansion of Christiansburg High School, which will be one of the division’s most ambitious projects in years.

Miear received recognition for his recent work earlier this year when he was a recipient of one of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents’ regional superintendent of the year awards.

Among the accomplishments the former district chief pointed out when asked about his regional superintendent award was the expansion of the career and technical education offerings in Montgomery County schools, particularly the addition of a corps of cadets program. He said that program has grown to be the largest CTE program in three years.

Despite how his time with Montgomery County schools ended, Holland said they were impressed by Miear’s depth of experience and areas of “passion and focus” throughout his career.

“We’re really excited to have him join the team,” Holland said.

Miear isn’t the only former district chief joining Minnick Schools as enCircle also announced former Wise County schools Superintendent Greg Mullins as the new assistant director for program development.

As far as Montgomery County Public Schools is concerned, the district is currently going through the phases of finding a new superintendent. The district most recently completed a series of community forums on the search, among other activities.

The search for a new MCPS superintendent must be completed within 180 days of the school board’s March 17 vote to terminate Miear.

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