The State Board of Education is the voice of the public in its role as policy maker for Maryland's public schools, public libraries, and vocational rehabilitation services.
It solicits the views of interested groups and the public at large on all important issues. The State Board is a 12-member body appointed by the governor. Members bring to their task a wide range of professional and civic experience. Members serve staggered four-year terms and may serve two full terms. A student member serves a one-year term.
The state superintendent of schools is chosen by the Board for a four-year, renewable term and acts as its secretary-treasurer. She does not have a vote but does have an advisory role and is the administrative head of the State Department of Education.
The Board sets the state's education policies and standards for pre-kindergarten through high school and for Maryland's public libraries, juvenile services education and vocational rehabilitation services. It passes regulations that have the force of law and is empowered to interpret the true meaning and intent of the law. It also reviews and approves three annual budgets (the Department of Education headquarters budget, the state aid to local education budget, and state-aided institutions budget) before they're passed on to the governor's office for approval or revision and then to the General Assembly for final action. The Board is also required to decide all controversies brought before it that arise under the law. Traditionally, however, the Board tempers its considerable legal power with respect for the principle of local control of schools. Each of Maryland's 24 school systems has its own board of education.
Maryland State Board of Education Members
Guffrie M. Smith, Jr. (President) is a retired educator with a diverse career including 33.5 years with Calvert County Public Schools (1964 – 1975 and 1981-2004) and 6.5 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. Throughout his career, Guffrie has served on regional and statewide boards and committees including the State's Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board, social studies curriculum writing and assessment teams and the Multicultural Education Task Force.
Mr. Smith is active in the community with the Calvert Crusade for Children, Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse, Christmas in April, Kiwanis Club of Calvert, Calvert County Historical Society and Old Walville School Restoration Committee. In 1988, Guffrie was appointed to a local bank board; in 2003, he was honored as King of Calvert's United Way Mardi Gras; the Maryland State Teachers Association granted him their Martin Luther King Community Award; and in 2009, Guffrie was awarded the Louis L. Goldstein Award by Calvert's Democratic Central Committee.
Mr. Smith is a graduate of St. Mary's County Public Schools and 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. S. James Gates, Jr. (Vice President), Sylvester James "Jim" Gates, Jr., is an American theoretical physicist. He received two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1977. 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 supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.
He is a Past President of the National Society of Black Physicists, and a NSBP Fellow, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Physics in the U.K. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Science & the Public, and the Board of Directors for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He also is currently serving as a Distinguished Research Chair at Canada’s Perimeter Institute. He has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
In 2013, President Obama awarded Prof. Gates the National Medal of Science, the highest recognition given by the U.S. to scientists with the citation, ‘‘For his contribution to the mathematics of supersymmetry in particle, field, and string theories and his extraordinary efforts to engage the public on the beauty and wonder of fundamental physics.’’ That year, he was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American physicist so recognized in its 150-year history.
James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr., is the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of WGL Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Washington Gas. He also served as Chairman and CEO of Washington Gas, the natural gas utility serving over 1,000,000 customers in the Washington metropolitan area and surrounding region. During his tenure at WGL Mr. DeGraffenreidt provided leadership for the energy industry as well as important community institutions. In addition to serving on the boards of the Walters Art Museum and the Maryland Science Center, Mr. DeGraffenreidt completed terms as Chairman of the American Gas Association and Co-Chair of the Alliance to Save Energy during over a decade of service on each of those boards.
Mr. DeGraffenreidt has remained committed to industry leadership as well as community service. He currently serves on the boards of Harbor Bankshares Corporation, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and Vectren Corporation.
Mr. DeGraffenreidt received the degrees of Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from Columbia University in 1978 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale College in 1974. He is married with four children and resides in Baltimore City.
Linda Eberhart retired in 2012 following an extensive education career that included 42 years working with students and teachers in Baltimore City Public Schools. She was an elementary classroom teacher for 37 years and was selected as the 2002 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Immediately after that experience, Linda continued meeting with teachers in her classroom monthly after school and formed one of the first Professional Learning Communities in the country. This group of dedicated educators grew and now includes 1500 teachers in 80 content and grade levels that continue to meet each month to discuss ways to improve instruction and support for students.
Ms. Eberhart and her colleagues presented at national conferences including the ASCD, Education Trust, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Goal Setting Conference on Education Standards, and the National Business Roundtable to share strategies and methods that they used to eliminate the achievement gap at their school. Her classroom and students were featured on national television news shows and in local and state newspapers.
She has served on numerous boards and work groups including the Maryland Professional Standards and Teachers' Advisory Board, Vice-President of the Baltimore Teacher's Union, and the Governor's STEM Task Force (Investing in STEM to Secure Maryland's Future). She currently serves on the Johns Hopkins STEM NSF National Advisory Panel and Aspen Institute Mathematics Advisory Board.
Ms. Eberhart received her undergraduate degree from Towson University and her master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a life-long resident of Baltimore City.
Chester E. Finn, Jr., scholar, educator and public servant, has devoted his career to improving education in the United States. At Fordham, he is now Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus. He is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.
Finn served as Fordham's President from 1997 to 2014, after many earlier roles in education, academe and government. From 1999 until 2002, he was John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and previously at Hudson Institute. In 1992-94, he served as founding partner and senior scholar with the Edison Project. He was Professor of Education and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University from 1981 until 2002. From 1985 to 1988, he served as Assistant Secretary for Research and Improvement & Counselor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier positions include Staff Assistant to the President of the United States; Special Assistant to the Governor of Massachusetts; Counsel to the U.S. Ambassador to India; Research Associate at the Brookings Institution; and Legislative Director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
For 40+ years, Finn has been in the forefront of the national debate about school reform. His participation in seminars, conferences, and hearings has taken him to colleges, education and civic groups, and government organizations throughout the world.
A native of Ohio, he holds an undergraduate degree in U.S. history, a master's degree in social studies teaching, and a doctorate in education policy, all from Harvard University.
Finn has served on numerous boards, currently including the Maryland State Board of Education, the National Council on Teacher Quality, and the Core Knowledge Foundation.
Author of 20 books, Finn's latest (co-authored with Jessica Hockett) is Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools. Earlier works include Ohio's Education Reform Challenges: Lessons from the Frontlines (co-authored with Terry Ryan and Michael Lafferty); Troublemaker: A Personal History of School Reform Since Sputnik; Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut; Leaving No Child Behind: Options for Kids in Failing Schools (co-edited with Frederick M. Hess); Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education (co-authored with Bruno V. Manno and Gregg Vanourek); and The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide from Pre-School Through Eighth Grade (co-authored with William J. Bennett and John Cribb).
A speaker and moderator at myriad events and frequent commentator in the national media, he has also penned more than 400 articles in such publications as The Weekly Standard, National Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Public Interest, Washington Post, New York Times, Education Week, Chronicle of Higher Education, Harvard Business Review, TheAtlantic.Com, NationalReview.com, Education Next, and The Columbus Dispatch. He also writes regularly for the Fordham Institute's weekly Education Gadfly.
He and his wife, Renu Virmani, a physician, have two grown children and three adorable granddaughters. They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Laurie Halverson , Montgomery County, (Term 2012 - 2016) (bio and photo will follow)
Dr. Michele Jenkins Guyton brings a unique combination of professional and personal experiences to inform her decisions as a member of the Board of Education. She earned a BA from Vanderbilt University in Psychology and Anthropology, a joint MA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Radcliffe College Consortium of Women's Studies at Harvard University, and a PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Developmental Psychology from Brandeis University. She served on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of Iowa for several years before following her calling to advocate directly for children and families at-risk. Over the past 20 years she has developed and implemented programs as diverse as parenting classes for inmates in a federal penitentiary in North Carolina, positive discipline and bonding activities for women and children in domestic violence shelters in Iowa, and a recent Maryland Health Charities disabilities outreach grant to underserved school systems.
She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tourette Association of America Chapter serving Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia and is the co- founder of the Baltimore area support group for families with Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders. She became involved with this work because she is the mother of three boys with various disabilities, including Tourette Syndrome, who have benefited from special education services in our schools. She lives in Phoenix, MD with her sons and husband, Dr. Greg Guyton, and is also active in several musical and theatrical organizations in the Baltimore area.
Stephanie R. Iszard, M.Ed., comes to the Maryland State Board of Education with over 25 years of administrative and classroom experience in the public and private sectors of education. Currently, the principal at Cornerstone Christian Academy, she obtained her B.A. in Education from the University of Louisiana and Master's degree in Education from Regent University. Ms. Iszard earned a Lifetime Educator's Certificate by the Executive Board of ACSI. She is certified by ACSI as a principal at all levels.
She has served the educational community as math instructor, Dean of Students, Instructional Council Member for developing curriculum, chair of several committees (safety, site advisory, funding, etc.), parent/student/ teacher conflict ombudsman, to name a few. Ms. Iszard loves getting parents and communities involved in the educational process. Black History Festivals, Cinco de Mayo Celebrations, and Pi Day Celebrations are a few examples. She has led fundraisers for various private institutions, written grants, and worked to get Smartboards in every classroom at Cornerstone Christian Academy. Her resolute drive and passion for teaching and challenging students to grow has made her prominent among her peers.
Ms. Iszard worked and taught at Teen Challenge in Brooklyn, New York, a faith-based organization that offers solutions for youth, adults, and families struggling with life-controlling problems, such as addiction. She recently served on the Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force.
With abundant experience and a thorough understanding of the educational process, Ms. Iszard looks forward to serving her term on the board.
Stephanie R. Iszard, an Annapolis resident, was born and raised in southern Louisiana and has lived in Maryland over 23 years. She is the proud mother of, Zach, 21 and Katie, 19.
Madhu Sidhu is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Boards of Education. She is the Senior Area Director for the Southern Region. She has been engaged in policy-making group studies — on Digital Learning, Deeper Learning, and Rural Education.
Mrs. Sidhu is the former Executive Director for Character Counts! Kent County, a non-profit organization, active in character education in schools and other youth organizations.
For over 20 years, as a parent, she has devoted herself to education and promoting constructive parent involvement therein. She was actively involved in Maryland PTA, both as a board member and as chair of its Curriculum and Instruction committee. She served as the president of the County Council of PTAs, high school PTSA, middle school PTA, and as vice president of the elementary school PTA. She has been awarded life-time membership by Maryland PTA. Mrs. Sidhu and her husband served as members of the Parent Council at Swarthmore College for eight years while their two children were students there.
Mrs. Sidhu served on School Improvement Teams in schools at all three levels. Currently, she is a member of her school district's STEM steering committee, and, has served on the boards and committees of other local organizations that promote children's issues and programs.
Mrs. Sidhu is married to Dr. Satinder S. Sidhu, has two children, and resides in Chestertown, Kent County. She was recognized as the 1981 Volunteer of the Year in Centre County, Pennsylvania; in 2007, as a Phenomenal Woman by the Phenomenal Women of Kent County, and recently as the Person of the Year by WCTR-1530, the multi-county local radio station.
Mrs. Sidhu graduated from SNDT Women's University in Bombay, India with a degree in Sociology and Psychology and from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey with a special major in Information Science and Library Science.
Andrew R. Smarick is a Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving K-12 education, particularly for disadvantaged students. Previously, he was an education aide at the White House Domestic Policy Council and Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier in his career, he served as a legislative aide to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland and members of the Maryland General Assembly. He also served as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education.
Andy was a member of Governor Robert Ehrlich's Commission on Quality Education. He helped found a college-preparatory charter school and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and was a founding board member of 50CAN. He is a former White House Fellow and Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow. His recent work includes projects on ESEA reauthorization, gifted education, rural schooling, urban systemic reform, urban Catholic schooling, charter schools, private-school choice, standards and assessments, and educator effectiveness.
Andy is a product of Maryland's primary and secondary public schools. He earned a bachelor's degree, summa cum laude and with honors, from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master's degree in public management from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Andy lives in Stevensville, Maryland with his wife and three kids.
Laura E. Weeldreyer is a Senior Consultant for Urban Policy Development, a public sector management consulting firm located in Baltimore. She works nationally on a variety of education reform projects with school systems, state departments of education, and non-profit organizations. Her recent projects include the design and implementation of new systems for principal and teacher evaluation with Race to the Top states, support for the implementation of performance management routines in turnaround schools in the state of Virginia, the development of a collaborative performance framework for school accountability and support in Shelby County, Tennessee, and the use of data and performance management to support innovation and improvement with educator preparation programs.
Previously Laura worked in the central office of the Baltimore City Public School System (City Schools) for eleven years. During her time with City Schools, she held several positions, including Deputy Chief of Staff. She was an Area Executive Officer for 32 schools that spanned pre-k through 12th grade. Laura also served as the Executive Director the Office of New and Charter Schools, facilitating and supporting the opening of more than 20 new public schools, and overseeing the charter school application and renewal process for Baltimore.
Laura taught elementary and middle school in New Orleans and Baltimore. She was a Teach for America corps member.
Laura attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her BA and she holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. Laura is the author of several books for children. Laura currently lives in Baltimore City, with her husband, and her three daughters.
Quinn M. Wandalowski, (Student Member) is a junior at Smithsburg High School in Washington County. Her school activities include Vice President of student government, member of the varsity cross country and track teams, and cellist in her school's orchestra. As part of her community service, Quinn co-founded a charity at her school called Coffee for a Cause, a hot beverage stand for students and faculty, where all proceeds are donated to local charities. In addition, she performs as part of a quartet at a local nursing home, playing cello and piano.
Quinn enjoys math and science and is interested in pursuing engineering following graduation from high school. She hopes one day to use her engineering and problem-solving skills to create a better life for people in developing countries.
Quinn is honored to represent the students of Maryland as a member of the State Board of Education. She is committed to facilitating dialogue and communication among students to make certain students' voices are adequately represented.
Jack R. Smith, Ph.D., Interim State Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Smith became the Interim State Superintended of Schools and Secretary-Treasurer of the State Board on September 12, 2015. Dr. Smith is most recently the Deputy State Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, and Chief Academic Officer at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). He 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 Maryland State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, creed, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation in matters affecting employment or in providing access to programs.
Maryland State Board of Education
Guffrie M. Smith, Jr., President
(Term 2013 - 2017)
Dr. S. James Gates, Jr., Vice President Prince George's County
(Term 2013 - 2017)
James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr.
(Term 2012 - 2016)
Linda Eberhart Baltimore City (Term 2012 - 2016)
Chester E. Finn, Jr. Montgomery County
(Term 2014 - 2018)
Michele Jenkins Guyton, Ph.D. Baltimore County
(Term 2015 - 2019)
Laurie Halverson Montgomery County
(Term 2012 - 2016)
Stephanie R. Iszard, M.Ed. Anne Arundel County
(Term 2015 - 2019)
(Term 2013 - 2017)
Andrew R. Smarick
Queen Anne's County
(Term 2014 - 2018)
Laura E. Weeldreyer
Quinn M. Wandalowski Washington County
(Term 2015 - 2016)
Dr. Jack R. Smith
Secretary-Treasurer of the Board
Interim State Superintendent of Schools
The State Board of Education meets monthly, except in November. The meetings are held in the seventh floor Board Room at the Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland. The public is invited to attend. If you have a concern and wish to bring it to the Board's attention, please write to the Board president or call the Board office. A public comment period is provided at each meeting of the State Board. Persons wishing to make a public comment must contact the Board office one week prior to the meeting date.