Skip to Main Content

Press Release: Maryland's State Superintendent Leaving For New Challenge

For Immediate Release                     Contact: John White, 410- 767-0439, (cell) 443-800-1026

Baltimore, MD (August 28, 2015)

The Maryland State Board of Education has accepted with regret the resignation of Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D, State Superintendent of Schools, who will become President and Chief Executive Officer of FutureReady Columbus, an education non-profit corporation with an initial focus on early childhood education, public policy, and community engagement. The State Board President, Mr. Guffrie Smith, expressed the sentiment of the Board.

“We are losing an extraordinary leader, a talented State Superintendent of Schools,” Mr. Smith said.  “Dr. Lowery led Maryland through a time of tremendous transition and progress. She positioned our State as a national leader in preparing students to be college and career ready.”

During her tenure, more Maryland students graduated high school than ever before. At the same time, dropout rates fell to a new low. She focused on the importance of educating students for careers as well as college, initiating a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) plan and a statewide Computer Science Initiative to provide students with more opportunities to acquire in-demand skills in career pathways that address the needs of local employers and the global economy. 

She recently led the development of a youth apprenticeship design team of state partner agencies, private industry partners, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations to create genuine career-readiness opportunities for youth. Among her many awards, the National Association of State Boards of Education this year named Dr. Lowery the “Policy Leader of the Year” in recognition of her many contributions to education.

The State Board has appointed Jack R. Smith, Ph.D., as Interim State Superintendent to serve the remainder of the term, until June 30, 2016. Dr. Smith is currently the Deputy State Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, and Chief Academic Officer at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).  He has provided leadership since August 2013 for the work of five MSDE divisions: Early Childhood Development; Special Education and Early Intervention Services; Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability; Career and College Readiness, including Juvenile Services Education Schools; and Library Development and Services.

He was the Superintendent of Schools in Calvert County for seven years and the President of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland in 2011-2012. He started his career as a teacher in Richland, Washington and also served as a school principal in Japan and Thailand.

Dr. Smith received his doctorate in Instructional Leadership for Changing Populations from Notre Dame of Maryland University. He also received a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University.

The State Board expects that the transition will be a smooth and seamless one, and expressed confidence that Dr. Smith will carry on the legacy of excellence that has been Dr. Lowery’s hallmark, and the hallmark of MSDE and the Maryland public school system.

Dr. Lowery will be joining FutureReady Columbus on September 14, 2015.

“We are delighted to have someone of Dr. Lowery’s caliber and national reputation join us in Columbus to help us prepare our kids for success in school and in life,” said Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, co-chair of FutureReady Columbus.

Dr. Lowery expressed her gratitude to the Maryland State Board of Education and to the Department staff for the extraordinary work they have accomplished including the following:

  • The Maryland College and Career Ready Standards have been fully implemented in all 24 school systems to prepare students for post-secondary education and the workplace;
  • MSDE supported full implementation of more advanced, online state assessments in all school systems through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC);
  • Maryland school systems implemented more meaningful Teacher-Principal Evaluation Systems, using both student growth and professional practice measures to strengthen instruction and professional growth with technical assistance from MSDE;
  • The U.S. Department of Education approved Maryland's request for ESEA Flexibility for the 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014 school years, and a three-year renewal in 2015;
  • MSDE developed a “Promising Principals Academy” and principal pipeline initiative to identify and train the next generation of great school leaders; and
  • Maryland expanded quality prekindergarten programs and introduced a new kindergarten readiness assessment to provide data for teachers to adjust instruction and improve learning. 

# # #