Nancy S. Grasmick, Ph.D.

Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland's first female State Superintendent of Schools, has served in that post since 1991, among the longest such terms in the nation. Dr. Grasmick is the only person to hold two cabinet positions simultaneously; in 1991, she served as Special Secretary for Children, Youth, and Families and as State Superintendent of Schools.

Dr. Grasmick's career in education began as a teacher of deaf children at the William S. Baer School in Baltimore City. Over the next 30 years, she served as a classroom and resource teacher, principal, supervisor, assistant superintendent, and associate superintendent.

Dr. Grasmick holds a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University, an M.S. from Gallaudet Unversity, and a B.S. from Towson University.  Dr. Grasmick has been a teacher and an administrator, and, most importantly, a child advocate. The sustaining force behind her commitment to education reform is her strong belief that every child is entitled to a high-quality education through a public system held accountable for its performance. Her vision is for a system in which all schools effectively prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the new millennium.

One of Dr. Grasmick's accomplishments is Achievement Matters Most: Maryland's plan for Every Student.  Under the recommendations of Maryland's Visionary Panel for Better Schools, appointed by Dr. Grasmick, the state is making fundamental changes in its testing and accountability systems, creating a voluntary state curriculum, and strengthening programs to enhance teacher quality. As a result of Dr. Grasmick's work in these areas, in July 2003, the Education Commission of the States presented Maryland with its "State Innovation Award," which annually recognizes a state for excellence in education policy development.  Under Dr. Grasmick's guidance, Maryland was among the first state to receive approval of its plan to implement the No Child Left Behind Act.

Dr. Grasmick has served on the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education and has garnered numerous awards for her visionary and consistent leadership, including the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP's Community Service Award, the Ronald McDonald Foundation's 2001 Spirit of Children Award, and the American Academy of Pediatrics Child Advocacy Award.  She was inducted into the Daily Record's "Circle of Excellence," an honor bestowed only on those named to the newspaper's Top 100 Women list more than three times.

As Maryland's State Superintendent of Schools, Dr Grasmick has ushered in a new era of educational accountability in the state of Maryland. Because of the work she has done to improve public schools, Maryland students have more and better opportunities to learn. As Maryland's first Female State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Grasmick has helped pave the way for other women to hold high-ranking positions in state government.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2004.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2004