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Jerome “Jerry” Marco, Former Whitman Principal, Remembered as Visionary

In 2004, when Dr. Marco retired, the stadium was dedicated to him and was renamed Jerome M. Marco Stadium. His wife Mary stands to his left.

Alan Goodwin, principal of Walt Whitman High School, remembers former principal Jerome “Jerry” Marco, who died on May 9. 

Dr. Jerry Marco, former principal of Whitman High School for 29 years, recently passed away after struggling with a range of illnesses. Dr. Marco was a very devoted educator and respected by all for his accomplishments and for his kindness to everyone. He started his 47 years in education in Pennsylvania teaching math for four years, and he then transferred to MCPS to teach math at Wheaton High School in 1962. In 1966, he worked as a counselor at Kennedy High School and as an assistant principal at Churchill High School from 1967 to 1970. Dr. Marco next became principal at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, and in 1975, he moved to Whitman as principal.

Dr. Marco worked closely with the Whitman community, staff and students to enhance the school’s academic, athletic and extracurricular programs. The efforts resulted in a stellar national reputation that remains to this day. Dr. Marco loved his students and wanted them to reach their academic potential while pursuing their interests. The art and music programs excelled under his watch, and he encouraged students to start extracurricular clubs around their interests, all in an effort to keep students involved in school. Dr. Marco would give inspirational speeches to athletic teams before they played a big game emphasizing that they should exude pride in what they do. He was also very concerned about student safety and instituted a very tough zero-tolerance policy related to drinking and drugs.

Dr. Marco’s slogan for Whitman was “Pride + Determination = Success.”  He said he strived to model hard work and fairness as exemplary ways for his staff and his students to conduct themselves. His style of leadership included mentoring other leaders and potential leaders. He emphasized to leaders to always keep the best interest of the students in mind when making a decision. He also suggested that students be given as much autonomy as possible when they were running a club, a fundraiser or other function so they could learn from the experience and not just rely on adults.  

He also counseled leaders to employ the personal touch as often as possible because education is about helping others and empowering others to pass on acts of kindness. He was renowned for sending personal notes to people at Whitman and to other schools and offices congratulating them for a promotion or another accomplishment, or thanking them for an array of reasons. Dr. Marco told leaders to keep their office doors open to be available whenever someone had a question or a need. Finally, Dr. Marco told leaders to find time to spend with their own families.

Because of his mentoring, leadership practices and sage advice, Dr. Marco was known as the “Godfather of Montgomery County administrators” and his legacy lives on in so many of us.

Whitman’s student newspaper, the Black & White, also published the following obituary about Dr. Marco. Read it here.

Last Updated: 5/15/2012