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NASBE Press Release: State Superintendent Lowery Named NASBE Policy Leader of the Year

For Immediate Release                Contact: Renée Rybak Lang, 703.740.4841,

Baltimore, MD (July 14, 2015)

Maryland State Superintendent Lillian Lowery Honored as NASBE Policy Leader of the Year

Alexandria, Va. – The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is pleased to honor Dr. Lillian M. Lowery, Maryland's state superintendent of schools, as the 2015 Policy Leader of Year. The honor is given annually to a national or state policymaker in recognition of his or her contributions to education.

Maryland's state superintendent since 2012, Dr. Lowery embodies the promise of Brown v. Board of Education through her support of education "made available to all on equal terms." In charge of one of the nation's highest performing state school systems, Dr. Lowery has consistently worked to raise Maryland's student achievement, close achievement gaps, prepare graduates for college and career, and support educator effectiveness.

Dr. Lowery's "calm, respectful, and persuasive leadership style has enabled her to engage educators, policymakers, and community stakeholders and reach consensus on important education issues, resulting in unprecedented progress and change in Maryland," said former Maryland State Board President Mary Kay Finan, who nominated Dr. Lowery. "Her collaborative, transparent approach enabled Maryland to reach agreement on key goals that other states have found challenging to achieve."

Under Dr. Lowery's watch, Maryland has successfully implemented three major transitions to higher standards, better assessments, and more meaningful teacher and principal evaluations. She has strengthened science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, addressed school discipline issues, and expanded early childhood education in the state.

Dr. Lowery earned her bachelor's degree from North Carolina Central University. She spent 17 years as a classroom teacher and went on to serve as a principal, area administrator, and local superintendent. She holds a master's degree from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

Dr. Lowery was appointed secretary of education for the State of Delaware in 2009. Under her leadership, Delaware was the first state to be awarded a federal Race to the Top grant for aggressive systematic education reform.

The current president-elect of The Council of Chief State School Officers, Dr. Lowery has also been recognized for her work by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

"The Policy Leader of the Year award is the highest honor that state board of education members can bestow," said NASBE executive director Kristen Amundson. "Dr. Lowery's principled leadership has improved education for all children."

The 2015 Policy Leader of the Year Award will be presented October 23 at NASBE's national conference in Baltimore, MD. Learn more about the conference.

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America's state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, promote excellence in the education of all students, and ensure responsible lay governance of education. Learn more at