By Paul Gessler

ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Maryland has named a new state school superintendent, Mohammed Choudhury.

Choudhury currently serves as the Associate Superintendent and Chief Strategy Talent and Innovation Officer with The San Antonio Independent School District. He previously served with the public schools in Dallas and Los Angeles.

The state school board officially voted to offer Choudhury the position Thursday afternoon. He accepted and will begin his term on July 1.

“For years, Maryland Public Schools have been a model for other states and there is an incredibly strong foundation to build upon to ensure that every Maryland student has the opportunity to build a great future. But being one of the top states for education doesn’t mean there aren’t gaps in the system, and it certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement,” said Choudhury.

“With the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future as a guide for MSDE and every district in the state, the state’s leaders have shown a remarkable commitment to the hard work that’s necessary to bridge gaps and ensure every student has the tools and supports needed to be successful. I am honored by the board’s selection and look forward to hitting the ground running as Maryland’s next State Superintendent of Schools.”

He will serve the remaining three years of Dr. Karen Salmon’s term. She is retiring on June 30.

“We are only as strong as our most struggling student. We are only as strong as most struggling educators. We’re only as strong as our most confused and frustrated parent,” Choudhury said during the announcement Thursday.

On his LinkedIn profile, Choudhury said, “I began my career in education as a middle school English as a Second Language and social studies teacher in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Central Los Angeles. I am a NextGen Network leader at the Pahara-Aspen Institute and a future chief at Chiefs for Change. I hold a master’s in urban schooling from the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

“One of my concerns early on was that a three-year term would be an impediment to finding top candidates. It wasn’t,” State School Board President Clarence Crawford said.

Crawford said the committee virtually interviewed 11 candidates before identifying four “outstanding” finalists for in-person interviews.

“So many of your references described you as ‘visionary,’ ‘innovative,’ ‘transformational,’ ‘commitment to equity,’ a ‘rising star,’ that you’re ready for this,” board member Rose Li told Choudhury said Thursday.

“When we set out on our search for Maryland’s next superintendent, our goal was to identify and hire the highest caliber candidate to build the future of education for all Maryland children. Considering Mr. Choudhury’s outstanding transformative accomplishments, we are completely confident that we have hired the right person, one who deeply cares about children,” said Crawford.

“Mr. Choudhury distinguished himself by providing a fresh perspective, and his engaging high-energy approach brings the best out of the people he serves. He is a bold pioneer in the educational community, and we are fortunate to have secured his leadership as Maryland’s chief education officer as we continue to recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and seek to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Mr. Choudhury is an empathetic and collaborative leader and hard-working person who values input and diverse perspectives.”

Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted, “Mohammed Choudhury has gained national acclaim for his work on education reform, and shares our vision of ensuring every child has access to a world-class education. We’re excited to have him coming to Maryland.”

Terms of Choudhury’s contract have not yet been released. Dr. Salmon currently earns $275,000.

Paul Gessler