The State Board of Education is the voice of the public in its role as policy maker for Maryland's public schools, public libraries, and vocational rehabilitation services.
It solicits the views of interested groups and the public at large on all important issues. The State Board is a 12-member body appointed by the governor. Members bring to their task a wide range of professional and civic experience. Members serve staggered four-year terms and may serve two full terms. A student member serves a one-year term.
The state superintendent of schools is chosen by the Board for a four-year, renewable term and acts as its secretary-treasurer. She does not have a vote but does have an advisory role and is the administrative head of the State Department of Education.
The Board sets the state's education policies and standards for pre-kindergarten through high school and for Maryland's public libraries, juvenile services education and vocational rehabilitation services. It passes regulations that have the force of law and is empowered to interpret the true meaning and intent of the law. It also reviews and approves three annual budgets (the Department of Education headquarters budget, the state aid to local education budget, and state-aided institutions budget) before they're passed on to the governor's office for approval or revision and then to the General Assembly for final action. The Board is also required to decide all controversies brought before it that arise under the law. Traditionally, however, the Board tempers its considerable legal power with respect for the principle of local control of schools. Each of Maryland's 24 school systems has its own board of education.
Maryland State Board of Education Members
Dr. Mary Kay Finan (President) is a Professor Emeritus of Frostburg State University where she was on the Education faculty from 1991 - 2010. She was the Coordinator of the Elementary and Early Childhood programs and taught the Elementary Science Curriculum, Methods, and Assessment course and the Leadership Seminar. Dr. Finan taught elementary school for 13 years in Allegany County before joining the faculty at Frostburg. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Loyola College, a master's degree in Reading from Frostburg State University, and earned a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland. Dr. Finan is a program reviewer and auditor for the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and a member of the Board of Examiners for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). She is also a member of the Archdiocese of Baltimore Child Abuse Review Board and the Allegany County League for Crippled Children Board.
James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr., is the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of WGL Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Washington Gas. He also served as Chairman and CEO of Washington Gas, the natural gas utility serving over 1,000,000 customers in the Washington metropolitan area and surrounding region. During his tenure at WGL Mr. DeGraffenreidt provided leadership for the energy industry as well as important community institutions. In addition to serving on the boards of the Walters Art Museum and the Maryland Science Center, Mr. DeGraffenreidt completed terms as Chairman of the American Gas Association and Co-Chair of the Alliance to Save Energy during over a decade of service on each of those boards.
Mr. DeGraffenreidt has remained committed to industry leadership as well as community service. He currently serves on the boards of Harbor Bankshares Corporation, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and Vectren Corporation.
Mr. DeGraffenreidt received the degrees of Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from Columbia University in 1978 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale College in 1974. He is married with four children and resides in Baltimore City.
Linda Eberhart retired in 2012 following an extensive education career that included 42 years working with students and teachers in Baltimore City Public Schools. She was an elementary classroom teacher for 37 years and was selected as the 2002 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Immediately after that experience, Linda continued meeting with teachers in her classroom monthly after school and formed one of the first Professional Learning Communities in the country. This group of dedicated educators grew and now includes 1500 teachers in 80 content and grade levels that continue to meet each month to discuss ways to improve instruction and support for students.
Ms. Eberhart and her colleagues presented at national conferences including the ASCD, Education Trust, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Goal Setting Conference on Education Standards, and the National Business Roundtable to share strategies and methods that they used to eliminate the achievement gap at their school. Her classroom and students were featured on national television news shows and in local and state newspapers.
She has served on numerous boards and work groups including the Maryland Professional Standards and Teachers' Advisory Board, Vice-President of the Baltimore Teacher's Union, and the Governor's STEM Task Force (Investing in STEM to Secure Maryland's Future). She currently serves on the Johns Hopkins STEM NSF National Advisory Panel and Aspen Institute Mathematics Advisory Board.
Ms. Eberhart received her undergraduate degree from Towson University and her master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a life-long resident of Baltimore City.
Chester E. Finn, Jr., scholar, educator and public servant, has devoted his career to improving education in the United States. At Fordham, he is now Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus. He is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.
Finn served as Fordham's President from 1997 to 2014, after many earlier roles in education, academe and government. From 1999 until 2002, he was John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and previously at Hudson Institute. In 1992-94, he served as founding partner and senior scholar with the Edison Project. He was Professor of Education and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University from 1981 until 2002. From 1985 to 1988, he served as Assistant Secretary for Research and Improvement & Counselor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier positions include Staff Assistant to the President of the United States; Special Assistant to the Governor of Massachusetts; Counsel to the U.S. Ambassador to India; Research Associate at the Brookings Institution; and Legislative Director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
For 40+ years, Finn has been in the forefront of the national debate about school reform. His participation in seminars, conferences, and hearings has taken him to colleges, education and civic groups, and government organizations throughout the world.
A native of Ohio, he holds an undergraduate degree in U.S. history, a master's degree in social studies teaching, and a doctorate in education policy, all from Harvard University.
Finn has served on numerous boards, currently including the Maryland State Board of Education, the National Council on Teacher Quality, and the Core Knowledge Foundation.
Author of 20 books, Finn's latest (co-authored with Jessica Hockett) is Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools. Earlier works include Ohio's Education Reform Challenges: Lessons from the Frontlines (co-authored with Terry Ryan and Michael Lafferty); Troublemaker: A Personal History of School Reform Since Sputnik; Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut; Leaving No Child Behind: Options for Kids in Failing Schools (co-edited with Frederick M. Hess); Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education (co-authored with Bruno V. Manno and Gregg Vanourek); and The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide from Pre-School Through Eighth Grade (co-authored with William J. Bennett and John Cribb).
A speaker and moderator at myriad events and frequent commentator in the national media, he has also penned more than 400 articles in such publications as The Weekly Standard, National Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Public Interest, Washington Post, New York Times, Education Week, Chronicle of Higher Education, Harvard Business Review, TheAtlantic.Com, NationalReview.com, Education Next, and The Columbus Dispatch. He also writes regularly for the Fordham Institute's weekly Education Gadfly.
He and his wife, Renu Virmani, a physician, have two grown children and three adorable granddaughters. They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Dr. S. James Gates, Jr. Sylvester James “Jim” Gates, Jr., is an American theoretical physicist. He received two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1977. His doctoral thesis was the first thesis at MIT to deal with supersymmetry. He also completed postgraduate studies at both Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). Gates is currently a University System Regents Professor, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Center for String and Particle Theory Director, and serves on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). He is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.
He is a Past President of the National Society of Black Physicists, and a NSBP Fellow, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Physics in the U.K. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Science & the Public, and the Board of Directors for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He also is currently serving as a Distinguished Research Chair at Canada’s Perimeter Institute. He has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
In 2013, President Obama awarded Prof. Gates the National Medal of Science, the highest recognition given by the U.S. to scientists with the citation, ‘‘For his contribution to the mathematics of supersymmetry in particle, field, and string theories and his extraordinary efforts to engage the public on the beauty and wonder of fundamental physics.’’ That year, he was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American physicist so recognized in its 150-year history.
Luisa Montero-Diaz is the Director of the Maryland Division of the Latin American Youth Center, a youth development organization serving minority and immigrant youth by providing comprehensive, culturally sensitive programs in education, employment, and social services. She oversees three sites in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, which assist over 1000 young people annually. Ms. Montero-Diaz is a member of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board and Vice President of the Human Services Coalition of Prince George's County. She has over twenty-five years of experience working on a variety of local, national and international programs, including with the District of Columbia Government's Executive Office of the Mayor, the National Grants Partnership, and USAID where she was Program Director for an international development project providing training to adults in Central America. She began her career as a speech/language therapist for Prince George's County Public Schools serving elementary/middle school students, and worked as a vocational rehabilitation trainer focusing on adults with developmental disabilities. She served as a special educator and trainer in the US Peace Corps. Ms. Montero-Diaz earned a B.S. from Appalachian State University and an M.S. from the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland Rawlings Fellowship. She has a son in the Montgomery County Public School System and lives in Takoma Park.
Larry Giammo has more than 25 years of experience in the business, local government and nonprofit sectors.
Larry presently serves as Senior Vice President of US Asia Links. The company's primary mission is to match corporations and investors in Asia with innovative technology-based companies in the US and Europe for trade, partnering and investment purposes. Larry also works in real estate, both commercial and residential, as an agent and consultant. He is licensed in Maryland and Washington, DC.
From 2001 through 2007, Larry served as Mayor of Rockville, Maryland – a diverse, international city of 65,000 residents. Prior to being Mayor, Larry served for five years on the Rockville Planning Commission.
Larry's business experience includes serving as Managing Director with the Corporate Executive Board which provides best practices research, strategic management advice, and data-driven analytic tools to C-suite executives at over 1,000 major corporations worldwide. He directed research teams, designed assessment frameworks, synthesized findings and recommendations, wrote and published studies, and shared findings via both large conferences and highly interactive smaller meetings.
Larry has also served as:
Executive Director of Green America, a national nonprofit, where he focused on convening working groups comprised of industry leaders and other stakeholders to achieve system change.
Managing Director with the Matrix Knowledge Group which provided consulting and analytic services, with the mission to facilitate effective evidence-based decisions and better utilization of data. Larry led the creation of CollegeMeasures.org, a publicly available website designed to foster transparency and accountability among all US higher education institutions and systems.
A consultant with Mercer Management Consulting where he helped telecommunications companies in the US and Australia achieve significant cost and service quality improvements.
A financial analyst with GE Information Services in the US and the UK.
Larry's education includes an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS Finance and BA Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also completed GE's Financial Management Program (FMP). He lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife and two school-age children.
Madhu Sidhu as a member of the Maryland State Board of Education, has been engaged in policy-making group studies — on Digital Learning, Deeper Learning, and Rural Education — with the National Association of State Boards of Education.
Mrs. Sidhu is the former Executive Director for Character Counts! Kent County, a non-profit organization, active in character education in schools and other youth organizations.
For over 20 years, as a parent, she has devoted herself to education and promoting constructive parent involvement therein. She was actively involved in Maryland PTA, both as a board member and as chair of its Curriculum and Instruction committee. She served as the president of the County Council of PTAs, high school PTSA, middle school PTA, and as vice president of the elementary school PTA. She has been awarded life-time membership by Maryland PTA. Mrs. Sidhu and her husband served as members of the Parent Council at Swarthmore College for eight years while their two children were students there.
Mrs. Sidhu served on School Improvement Teams in schools at all three levels. Currently, she is a member of her school district's STEM steering committee, and, has served on the boards and committees of other local organizations that promote children's issues and programs.
Mrs. Sidhu is married to Dr. Satinder S. Sidhu, has two children, and resides in Chestertown, Kent County. She was recognized as the 1981 Volunteer of the Year in Centre County, Pennsylvania; in 2007, as a Phenomenal Woman by the Phenomenal Women of Kent County, and recently as the Person of the Year by WCTR-1530, the multi-county local radio station.
Mrs. Sidhu graduated from SNDT Women's University in Bombay, India with a degree in Sociology and Psychology and from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey with a special major in Information Science and Library Science.
Sayed Naved is the President, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Banyan Technology Solutions, an Information Technology consulting company based in Rockville, MD. Prior to starting his own company, Mr. Naved worked in leadership roles for Fortune 500 corporations delivering Information Technology solutions to the US Federal Government.
Mr. Naved is a community activist and is actively involved in programs to enhance the education of disadvantaged children. He is a member of the Steering Committee of a non-profit organization that provides subsistence, scholarship and financial aid to over 450 school age children and college students in India. He serves on the Board of many Maryland based non-profit organizations and he is committed to bringing industry best practices to the non-profit sector.
Mr. Naved obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University, India and Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland, College Park. He is married with two children and resides in Montgomery County.
Andrew R. Smarick is a Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving K-12 education, particularly for disadvantaged students. Previously, he was an education aide at the White House Domestic Policy Council and Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier in his career, he served as a legislative aide to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland and members of the Maryland General Assembly. He also served as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education.
Andy was a member of Governor Robert Ehrlich's Commission on Quality Education. He helped found a college-preparatory charter school and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and was a founding board member of 50CAN. He is a former White House Fellow and Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow. His recent work includes projects on ESEA reauthorization, gifted education, rural schooling, urban systemic reform, urban Catholic schooling, charter schools, private-school choice, standards and assessments, and educator effectiveness.
Andy is a product of Maryland's primary and secondary public schools. He earned a bachelor's degree, summa cum laude and with honors, from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master's degree in public management from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Andy lives in Stevensville, Maryland with his wife and three kids.
Guffrie M. Smith, Jr. is a retired educator with a diverse career including 33.5 years with Calvert County Public Schools (1964 – 1975 and 1981-2004) and 6.5 years with the Maryland State Department of Education (1975-1981). In Calvert County , he served as a teacher, vice principal, principal, supervisor, coordinator of Healthy Families, director of curriculum/instruction and coordinator of a resource center. With the State, he served as specialist in migrant education, specialist in Title I and Migrant Branch Chief. Throughout his career, Guffrie has served on regional and statewide boards and committees including the State's Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board, social studies curriculum writing and assessment teams and the Multicultural Education Task Force.
Mr. Smith is active in the community with the Calvert Crusade for Children, Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse, Christmas in April, Kiwanis Club of Calvert, Calvert County Historical Society and Old Walville School Restoration Committee. In 1988, Guffrie was appointed to a local bank board; in 2003, he was honored as King of Calvert's United Way Mardi Gras; the Maryland State Teachers Association granted him their Martin Luther King Community Award; and in 2009, Guffrie was awarded the Louis L. Goldstein Award by Calvert's Democratic Central Committee.
Mr. Smith is a graduate of St. Mary's County Public Schools and earned his B.S. and M.A. degrees from Bowie State University. He has participated in post graduate studies at the University of Maryland and Nova University. He is married, has two daughters and resides in Calvert County.
Steven R. Priester, Student Member is a senior at Manchester Valley High School in Carroll County where he is President of the Student Government Association. He is the first student member of the State Board to be appointed from Carroll County, where he previously served as the Student Representative on the Board of Education. A Carson Scholar, Mr. Priester serves his peers on the Manchester Valley School Improvement Team and as a National Honor Society tutor and leadership mentor. He plays lacrosse and is an avid member of the marching band, where he plays sousaphone. In addition, Mr. Priester participates in the Future Educators of America, Ski Club, and Debate Team, and serves as a counselor at the Carroll County Outdoor School.
Outside of school, Steven is a Boy Scout leader and is currently working on his Eagle Scout Project. A self-proclaimed language enthusiast, he hopes to become a high school Spanish teacher after college.
Steven hopes to spread positivity everyday in his interactions with others. He believes that being negative is a waste of precious time, and encourages others to approach every situation with energy, enthusiasm, and a little bit of elbow grease. Steven lives his life following the words of Mark Twain, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Lillian M. Lowery became Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and Secretary-Treasurer of the State Board on July 1, 2012. Dr. Lowery's focus has been on raising achievement for all students, closing the achievement gap, preparing graduates for college and career, and supporting educator effectiveness. She has paid particular attention to strengthening Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.
She moved to Maryland from Delaware, where she served as Secretary of Education. Dr. Lowery has worked in various education institutions and programs since 1976. She served for three years as the Superintendent of the Christina School District in New Castle County, DE, served as an Assistant Superintendent in Fairfax County, VA, and as an Area Superintendent in Fort Wayne, IN. She held other administrative positions, and began her career as an English teacher at the middle and high school levels in Virginia.
A graduate in English and Secondary Education at North Carolina Central University, Dr. Lowery received her Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.
The Maryland State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, creed, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation in matters affecting employment or in providing access to programs.
Maryland State Board of Education
Dr. Mary Kay Finan President
(Term 2011 - 2015)
James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr.
(Term 2012 - 2016)
Linda Eberhart Baltimore City (Term 2012 - 2016)
Chester E. Finn, Jr. Montgomery County
(Term 2014 - 2018)
Dr. S. James Gates, Jr. Prince George's County
(Term 2013 - 2017)
Larry Giammo Montgomery County
(Term 2012 - 2016)
Luisa Montero-Diaz Montgomery County
(Term 2011 - 2015)
Sayed M. Naved Montgomery County
(Term 2011 - 2015)
Madhu Sidhu Kent County
(Term 2013 - 2017)
Andrew R. Smarick
Queen Anne's County
(Term 2014 - 2018)
Guffrie M. Smith, Jr.
(Term 2013 - 2017)
Steven R. Priester Carroll County
(Term 2014 - 2015)
Dr.Lillian M. Lowery
Secretary-Treasurer of the Board
State Superintendent of Schools
The State Board of Education meets monthly, except in November. The meetings are held in the seventh floor Board Room at the Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland. The public is invited to attend. If you have a concern and wish to bring it to the Board's attention, please write to the Board president or call the Board office. A public comment period is provided at each meeting of the State Board. Persons wishing to make a public comment must contact the Board office one week prior to the meeting date.