Educational matters that affect Washington County come under the control of the Board of Education (Code Education Article, secs. 4-101 through 4-126).

The Board is composed of eight members. Seven are elected by the voters to four-year terms (Code Election Law Article, secs. 8-801 through 8-806). A nonvoting student member, selected by the Washington County Association of Student Councils, serves a one-year term (Code Education Article, secs. 3-1301 through 3-1303). A president and vice-president for the Board annually are chosen in December (Code Education Article, sec. 4-107). The Superintendent of Schools serves as executive officer, secretary, and treasurer of the Board (Code Education Article, sec. 4-102).


The Washington County Public School System is governed by the County Board of Education (Code Education Article, secs. 4-101 through 4-126). In addition, through the review and approval of the annual operating and capital budgets, Charles County government exercises authority over the County Public Schools. Moreover, through the establishment and monitoring of various financial and academic policies and regulations, the State Department of Education also has considerable oversight of county public schools. Indeed, under Maryland law, the State Department of Education works with county public schools to comply with requirements and mandates of federal law.

In Washington County, the Public School System has forty-five schools. These include 8 high schools, 7 middle schools, 26 elementary schools, one alternative school, one special education school, and one outdoors center. In Fiscal Year 2017, some 22,545 students were enrolled in the County's public schools.

The Superintendent of Schools administers the County Public School System (Code Education Article, secs. 4-102; 4-201 through 4-206).

With the approval of the State Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Education appoints the Superintendent of Schools to four-year terms.

Washington County Public Schools moved its administration to Downsville Pike, Hagerstown, in January 2014.


Hagerstown Community College was founded as Hagerstown Junior College in 1946. The College's original purpose was to help veterans returning from World War II gain an education and enter the job market. The College was renamed Hagerstown Community College on July 1, 1998.


Opened in January 2005, the University System of Maryland Hagerstown is a regional higher education center. It offers upper-level undergraduate and graduate programs at Hagerstown from six University System of Maryland schools based elsewhere. These include: Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Maryland, College Park; and University of Maryland University College.

The University System of Maryland Hagerstown is overseen by the Governing Council, and is aided by the Board of Advisors.


The Washington County Free Library began in 1898. In April 1905, it introduced the first bookmobile in the nation. Drawn by two horses, the "library wagon" began by delivering boxes of books to either the general stores or post offices in the towns and villages throughout the County. Destroyed in a collision with a freight train in August 1910, the original book wagon was replaced by a motorized vehicle in 1912.
[photo, Sharpsburg Branch Library, 106 East Main St., Sharpsburg, Maryland] Based in Hagerstown, the main Library formerly was located at 101 Tandy Drive, but later moved to its present location at 100 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown. The main Libray has seven branches. They are in Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Hancock, Keedysville, Sharpsburg, Smithsburg, and Williamsport.

Founded in 1923, the Smithsburg Library moved to its present location in July 2006.

Sharpsburg Branch Library, 106 East Main St., Sharpsburg, Maryland, October 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

In 1936, the Williamsport Memorial Library was erected as a memorial to fourteen local high school students who died in a bus accident at Rockville.

Origins of the Hancock War Memorial Library trace to 1907 when a librarian would travel once a week from Hagerstown to Hancock. Thereafter a library building was constructed in 1969 at Hancock in tribute to armed services veterans of Hancock. That building suffered from structural problems and floods in the 1990s. It was moved to Widmyer Park in 1997. Opened on October 30, 2018, a new library replaced the original structure.

At Clear Spring, the Leonard P. Snyder Library opened in 2003.

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