BALTIMORE (AP/WJZ) — After decades of leading Maryland schools, Superintendent Nancy Grasmick is stepping down.
Kelly McPherson has more on Wednesday’s unexpected decision.
Grasmick says she wants more flexibility in her life after serving for such a long time. She says this is her own decision to step down after nearly 20 years. She’s resigning at the end of June.
Grasmick has risen through the ranks of Maryland education and then served as the state’s education superintendent for nearly 20 years.
“That is a very long time and I suspect in this country that it will not be replicated, but I think at some point one has to make decisions because this job is tremendously demanding,” she said.
She says she drives nearly 700 miles per week to interact with schools across the state. Her biggest achievement, she says, is creating cohesive policy from kindergarten through graduation.
“Whether it’s early childhood, whether it’s advanced placement, whether it’s the system as a whole, we’re number one,” Grasmick said. “That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave for the next person. Our students and our schools have made tremendous progress over the past two decades and stand on the edge of even greater progress. It has been my great honor and privilege to work with our state’s outstanding educators to provide our children with the educational system they richly deserve.”
She also noted that Maryland’s schools have received the top ranking in a survey by a national education publication for three years in a row, and that it’s a good time to pass the job on to someone else.
“I can’t even imagine July 1 what I’ll do when I’m not getting up at 5 a.m. and getting in the car and driving someplace 100 miles away,” she said.
At the end of her tenure in state politics, she says this decision is solely personal, not political. She says she is still disappointed in the number of dropouts and the low pay for educators but that is to be tackled by the next superintendent.
“I always feel I’m leaving it unfinished because I think it’s a beautiful mural that’s being painted and I hope it will never conclude,” Grasmick said.
Grasmick said she informed Gov. Martin O’Malley of her retirement plans by letter. She says whatever disagreements she’s had with O’Malley, they resolved differences and worked collaboratively for the better of state schools.
Gov. O’Malley issued this statement:
“This morning, Dr. Nancy Grasmick, Superintendent of Maryland Public Schools since 1991, notified me of her intent to retire effective June 30, 2011.
“I want to thank Dr. Grasmick for her service to the children, parents and educators of our state as she steps down from her role as State Superintendent. From her days teaching deaf children in Baltimore City, to now serving as the head of America’s number one public school system, Dr. Grasmick has been long-regarded as a champion for many of the progressive reforms we’ve implemented in Maryland. These same reforms have helped build the foundation for the nation’s top-ranked schools.
“I want to wish Dr. Grasmick the very best in her future endeavors, and thank her for her years of service to the people of our state.”
Grasmick has served as State Superintendent in Maryland since September 1991. She currently ranks as the nation’s longest-serving appointed state schools’ chief.
Grasmick says she’s taking a vacation and then considering offers that she has received recently, though she wouldn’t say what they are. The State Board of Education will now take on the task of finding her replacement.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)