generation of Maryland school leaders converged on Annapolis this week for
Maryland’s second Promising Principals Academy.
Academy, a unique effort by the Maryland State Department of Education to
prepare a new cadre of principals, is building on the success of its first
year. Research has repeatedly shown that
an effective principal is the key to a successful school.
The inaugural class of the Promising Principals Academy is already at work helping to lead Maryland public schools.
than a dozen educators included in the Promising Principals Academy’s initial
cohort have already been promoted.
public school success is built on the foundation of strong school leadership,”
said Maryland State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery. “This outstanding program provides training
and year-round mentoring to support these women and men who are entering
leadership roles. Our students are the
participants from 23 of Maryland’s 24 local school systems -- plus one
participant from Kent County and another from the statewide SEED School -- are
involved in this year’s class.
Participants were nominated by their local superintendents based on their
leadership potential, interest, and current position. This summer conference—aligned to principal
evaluation standards—marks the first time this cohort of promising principals
has gathered as a whole. The group will hold four more convenings throughout
the year, as well as online/digital coaching sessions.
on this year’s class, go here.
Maryland State Board of Education this week unanimously elected long-time
educator Guffrie M. Smith, Jr. as president, and University of Maryland
Professor S. James Gates as vice president.
M. Smith, Jr. is a retired educator with a diverse career including more than
30 years with Calvert County Public Schools (1964-1975 and 1981-2004) and more
than six 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. Mr. Smith
also has a long history of volunteer service in Calvert County.
graduate of St. Mary's County Public Schools, Mr. Smith 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.
Sylvester James “Jim” Gates, Jr., a theoretical physicist, received two B.S.
degrees and a Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 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 mathematical physics.
President Obama awarded Dr. Gates the National Medal of Science, the highest
recognition given by the U.S. to scientists. That year, he also was elected to
the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American physicist
so recognized in its 150-year history. Dr. Gates is married to Dr. Dianna
Abney, the Charles County Health Officer.
They have a daughter and a son and reside in Prince George’s County.
Smith succeeds Dr. Charlene Dukes as president, while Dr. Gates succeeds Dr.
Mary Kay Finan as vice president. The
board terms of both Dr. Dukes and Dr. Finan had expired.
State Superintendent of Schools
Lillian M. Lowery
Summer learning for students takes
many forms -- from our venerable Maryland Summer Centers for Gifted and
Talented students to many unique local programs. This summer brought an exciting addition to
summer learning that involved parents in the equation: Family Coding Clubs.
Students and parents together became
computer scientists at these clubs, joining to create their own inventions
using the latest computer technology. For
example, teams may develop games and controllers, using such programs as
Scratch and MaKey Makey. Based on a
successful program developed by the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Clubs took place on Saturdays at libraries
in five Maryland counties.
Maryland’s Family Coding Clubs were
a pilot project this summer, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library
Services. MSDE’s Division of Library
Development and Services partnered with Code in the Schools and FutureMakers to
launch the program. The final sessions
are set for tomorrow in St. Mary’s and Washington counties, but we hope the
program can return and expand next summer.
* * *
Congratulations to the Maryland PTA,
which just held its 100th Annual Convention. The PTA has been a critical partner in our
efforts to strengthen public education throughout the State, and the energy
from that meeting always leaves me confident of the future.
We look forward to working with
incoming Maryland PTA President Elizabeth Ysla Leight, who took over the reins
of the organization with this month’s convention. But I would be remiss if I didn’t give a
hearty thank you to outgoing President Ray Leone. Ray has worked tirelessly to increase parent
involvement in public education -- not just during his two-year term but ever
since his children entered elementary school.
People like Ray and Elizabeth help keep Maryland education at the
August 12-15 - Maryland Association of
Counties, Ocean City
August 19 - First school systems open
class for 2015-16 (St. Mary’s and Washington Counties)
August 25 - Maryland State Board of Education meeting,
State Officials Say New Assessments Saved $2.5 Million
Coding Club Helps Families Bond Over Technology
Maryland Gains Three Year ESEA Flexibility Renewal
Editorial: Free College? The Promise of the Say Yes Campaign