Kennedy Krieger Institute
Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick served as State Superintendent of top-ranked Maryland Public Schools for twenty years—from 1991 until 2011—serving 24 districts, 1,424 schools, and 869,113 students. She began her career as a classroom teacher at the William S. Baer School for the Deaf in Baltimore City before serving as principal and as associate superintendent in Baltimore County. Dr. Grasmick received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Towson University; her Master’s Degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University; and her Doctorate in Communicative Sciences from John’s Hopkins University.
Dr. Grasmick has been guided throughout her entire career by the belief that every child deserves an exceptional education. She has fought to establish high expectations for the teaching and learning in every Maryland classroom, pioneering bold policies and reforms to ensure it and implementing strong accountability structures to measure it. As a result, expectations and performance for adults, for schools, and for children have significantly improved under Dr. Grasmick’s leadership and are receiving national attention: for the fourth year in a row, Maryland is ranked #1 in the country by Education Week, a national educational publication, and as one of her final acts as State Superintendent, Dr. Grasmick was successful in securing a coveted $250 million Race to the Top grant from the United States Department of Education.
In a 2012 report published by Harvard Kennedy School (Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance, 2012: Eric Hanushek, Paul Peterson, Ludger Woessman), researchers cited that “Maryland won the gold medal by having the steepest overall growth trend” in student performance among US states between 1992 and 2009, the years examined in the study.
In 2012, Dr. Grasmick was appointed as the Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation at Towson University. She collaborates with national experts and practitioners to transform the way that teachers deliver classroom instruction and engage students in learning. The focus areas of her initiatives include teacher and leader preparation. Using the most relevant research and knowledge about motivation, technology, and what children must know and be able to do in the 21st century, a new wave of reform is underway. In addition to her work at Towson University, Dr. Grasmick is a faculty member at the Kennedy-Kreiger Institute developing an innovative fellowship program to prepare administrators as leaders in special education.