April 9, 2011

Maryland State Superintendent of Schools to retire in June, after 20 years of service

Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick announced her retirement on March 30 after serving in the position for nearly 20 years. Her last day as superintendent will be June 30, according to Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Media Relations Director William Reinhard. The Maryland Board of Education is responsible for appointing her replacement but has not selected anyone yet.

Grasmick, 72, has been the superintendent of Maryland schools since September 1991 and holds the title as the longest-serving appointed chief in the nation, according to a press release by the MSDE. After many years in office, Grasmick felt it was time to step down, according to Reinhard. "After 20 years on the job, she thought it'd be a good time to pass the torch on to somebody else," he said. "She wanted to go now, she certainly deserves it."

Grasmick is proud of the progress that has been made in the stateís education and found her job rewarding. ìIn general, Maryland education has become recognized as the nationís leader in public education," she said. "I believe that our stateís strong policies and the support they have engendered made that happen.î

One of Grasmick's top priorities was raising test scores across the state and improving Maryland's national ranking, according to Maryland State Senate President Thomas Miller. "She has emphasized test scores. There's an actual road map of how well [Maryland] students have achieved nationally," he said. In addition, Grasmick created the "Blue Ribbon Program," which recognizes schools that show improvement and achievement, according to Miller.

This national success was evident this past year by Education Week, which recognized the state's education system as the best in the nation and cited Maryland students' Advanced Placement (AP) performance as superior to the rest of the country. Last summer the U.S. Department of Education granted Maryland $250 million for the "Race to the Top" program, which provides money to schools and helps give them qualified teachers and principals.

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