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Press Release: Guffrie Smith Elected Maryland State Board President

Dr. S. James Gates Elected Vice President

For Immediate Release                                                      Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486

Baltimore, MD (July 28, 2015)

The Maryland State Board of Education today unanimously elected long-time educator Guffrie M. Smith, Jr. as president, and University of Maryland Professor S. James Gates as vice president.

Guffrie 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.

A 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.

Dr. 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.

In 2013, 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.

Mr. 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.