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 State Board
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State Board
Board Members

Maryland State Board of Education

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

Dr. Charlene M. DukesDr. Charlene M. Dukes, (President) is the president of Prince George's Community College and has twenty-seven years of progressive leadership experience and administrative responsibility in higher education. Dr. Dukes has served as State Board vice president for three years and represents the Board on the Governor's P-20 Council. She previously served on the Task Force to Study How to Improve Financial Literacy. From 2002 through 2006, she served on the Prince George's County Board of Education and chaired the Student Support, Student Appeals, and Personnel Committees. In addition she holds membership in a variety of professional organizations, including the National Council on Student Development, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges; the Association of American Colleges and Universities; the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators; the Council of Law in Higher Education; and the Maryland Network, an affiliate of the Office of Women in Higher Education/American Council on Education.

She has participated in the Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the League for Innovation, Women in Leadership sponsored by the Office of Women in Higher Education/American Council on Education, and the National Leadership Seminar sponsored the Association of Community College Trustees.

Dr. Dukes has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with an English concentration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master's and Doctorate in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Mary Kay FinanDr. Mary Kay Finan, (Vice President) is a Professor Emeritus of Frostburg State University where she was on the Education faculty from 1991 - 2010.  She was the Coordinator of the Elementary and Early Childhood programs and taught the Elementary Science Curriculum, Methods, and Assessment course and the Leadership Seminar.  Dr. Finan taught elementary school for 13 years in Allegany County before joining the faculty at Frostburg.  She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Loyola College, a master's degree in Reading from Frostburg State University, and earned a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland.  Dr. Finan is a program reviewer and auditor for the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and a member of the Board of Examiners for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).  She is also a member of the Archdiocese of Baltimore Child Abuse Review Board and the Allegany County League for Crippled Children Board.

James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr.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 EberhartLinda 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.

Dr. S. James Gates, Jr.Dr. S. James Gates, Jr. 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.

Luisa Montero-DiazLuisa Montero-Diaz is the Director of the Maryland Division of the Latin American Youth Center, a youth development organization serving minority and immigrant youth by providing comprehensive, culturally sensitive programs in education, employment, and social services. She oversees three sites in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, which assist over 1000 young people annually. Ms. Montero-Diaz is a member of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board and Vice President of the Human Services Coalition of Prince George's County. She has over twenty-five years of experience working on a variety of local, national and international programs, including with the District of Columbia Government's Executive Office of the Mayor, the National Grants Partnership, and USAID where she was Program Director for an international development project providing training to adults in Central America. She began her career as a speech/language therapist for Prince George's County Public Schools serving elementary/middle school students, and worked as a vocational rehabilitation trainer focusing on adults with developmental disabilities. She served as a special educator and trainer in the US Peace Corps. Ms. Montero-Diaz earned a B.S. from Appalachian State University and an M.S. from the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland Rawlings Fellowship. She has a son in the Montgomery County Public School System and lives in Takoma Park.
Larry GiammoLarry Giammo is the Executive Director of Green America, a national non-profit focused on establishing a green economy defined by environmental sustainability and restoration; social justice and fair labor; thriving and inclusive local communities; and, personal health and well-being. Prior to joining Green America, Mr. Giammo served as CEO for Property Tax Pros– a company he co-founded, focused on using research and statistics to empower homeowners in the property tax assessment process. He also worked as Managing Director of the highly-regarded international consulting firm, the Matrix Knowledge Group, from 2009 to 2010. Mr. Giammo also served as Mayor of Rockville from 2001 to 2007. While in office, he led efforts to redevelop the town center of the Montgomery County city. Before his election as mayor, Giammo served as a Commissioner on the Planning Commission for the City of Rockville from 1996 to 2001. Mr. Giammo received a B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude, and a B.S. in Finance, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A., with distinction, from Carnegie Mellon University. Madhu SidhuMadhu Sidhu as a member of the Maryland State Board of Education, has been engaged in policy-making group studies — on Digital Learning, Deeper Learning, and Rural Education — with the National Association of State Boards of 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.

Sayed Naved Sayed Naved is the President, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Banyan Technology Solutions, an Information Technology consulting company based in Rockville, MD. Prior to starting his own company, Mr. Naved worked in leadership roles for Fortune 500 corporations delivering Information Technology solutions to the US Federal Government.

Mr. Naved is a community activist and is actively involved in programs to enhance the education of disadvantaged children. He is a member of the Steering Committee of a non-profit organization that provides subsistence, scholarship and financial aid to over 450 school age children and college students in India. He serves on the Board of many Maryland based non-profit organizations and he is committed to bringing industry best practices to the non-profit sector.

Mr. Naved obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University, India and Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland, College Park. He is married with two children and resides in Montgomery County.


Guffrie M. Smith, Jr.Guffrie M. Smith, Jr. 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.

Donna Hill StatonDonna Hill Staton's diverse legal career includes more than a decade of public service, by appointment, as Maryland’s Deputy Attorney General and as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court for Howard County, Maryland.  Prior to her appointment to the bench, Ms. Staton was a litigation partner with the major law firm of Piper & Marbury, LLP (now DLA Piper).  Following law school, Ms. Staton clerked for the Honorable J. Joseph Howard of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.  She has also been an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Ms. Staton is a director of Howard Bancorp, and a trustee of the Client Protection Fund of the Bar of Maryland and the Bar Foundation of Howard County.  She recently completed service on the Maryland Daily Record’s Legal Editorial Advisory Board. 


Ms. Staton has served on the Maryland State Board of Education since 2009.  She represented the Board on the Task Force to Explore the Incorporation of the Principles of Universal Design for Learning.  The Board’s adoption of the task force recommendations made Maryland the “first state to adopt UDL to guide curriculum design for all students.”


She is also a former trustee of McDonogh School (Secretary, Education Committee Chairperson) and the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust.  Ms. Staton has worked with youth in a variety of settings, including teen advisor, recreational sports league coach and volunteer attorney for children in need of assistance.  She coordinated attorney mentoring programs with two Baltimore City Schools and worked with the Bar’s High School Mock Trial Program.


Ms. Staton is a past president of The Alliance of Black Women Attorneys, and served on the Maryland State Bar Association’s Board of Governors and The Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland. She was elected a fellow of the Maryland State and American Bar Foundations.


A 2012 Leadership in the Law winner, Ms. Staton was also named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record (2000) and has been recognized as a Women of Achievement in Maryland History. She is also a recipient of Trailblazer Awards from the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys and the NAACP (Howard County, MD), the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s (Columbia, Maryland Chapter) Community Service Award and Towson University’s Distinguished Black Marylanders Award


Ms. Staton attended Howard County public schools and earned degrees from Princeton University (A.B. 1979) and The George Washington University School of Law (J.D. 1982), where she was selected to the Journal of International Law and Economics.  She and her husband, Kerry, are the parents of two daughters.

Steven R. Priester, Student MemberSteven R. Priester, Student Member is a senior at Manchester Valley High School in Carroll County where he is President of the Student Government Association. He is the first student member of the State Board to be appointed from Carroll County, where he previously served as the Student Representative on the Board of Education. A Carson Scholar, Mr. Priester serves his peers on the Manchester Valley School Improvement Team and as a National Honor Society tutor and leadership mentor. He plays lacrosse and is an avid member of the marching band, where he plays sousaphone. In addition, Mr. Priester participates in the Future Educators of America, Ski Club, and Debate Team, and serves as a counselor at the Carroll County Outdoor School.

Outside of school, Steven is a Boy Scout leader and is currently working on his Eagle Scout Project. A self-proclaimed language enthusiast, he hopes to become a high school Spanish teacher after college.

Steven hopes to spread positivity everyday in his interactions with others. He believes that being negative is a waste of precious time, and encourages others to approach every situation with energy, enthusiasm, and a little bit of elbow grease. Steven lives his life following the words of Mark Twain, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."


Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D., State Superintendent of SchoolsLillian M. Lowery, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Lillian M. Lowery became Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and Secretary-Treasurer of the State Board on July 1, 2012. Dr. Lowery's focus has been on raising achievement for all students, closing the achievement gap, preparing graduates for college and career, and supporting educator effectiveness. She has paid particular attention to strengthening Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

She moved to Maryland from Delaware, where she served as Secretary of Education. Dr. Lowery has worked in various education institutions and programs since 1976. She served for three years as the Superintendent of the Christina School District in New Castle County, DE, served as an Assistant Superintendent in Fairfax County, VA, and as an Area Superintendent in Fort Wayne, IN. She held other administrative positions, and began her career as an English teacher at the middle and high school levels in Virginia.

A graduate in English and Secondary Education at North Carolina Central University, Dr. Lowery received her Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Polytechnic and State 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
Dr. Charlene M. Dukes
Prince George's County
(Term 2010 - 2014)
Dr. Mary Kay Finan
Vice President
Allegany County

(Term 2011 - 2015)
James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr.
Baltimore City
(Term 2012 - 2016)
Linda Eberhart
Baltimore City
(Term 2012 - 2016)
S. James Gates, Jr.
Prince George's County
(Term 2013 - 2017)
Larry Giammo
Montgomery County
(Term 201
2 - 2016)

Luisa Montero-Diaz
Montgomery County
(Term 2011 - 2015)

Sayed M. Naved
Montgomery County
(Term 2011 - 2015)

Madhu Sidhu
Kent County
(Term 2013 - 2017)

Guffrie M. Smith, Jr.
Calvert County
(Term 2013 - 2017)

Donna Hill Staton, Esq.
Howard County
(Term 2010 - 2014)

Steven R. Priester
Carroll County
Student Member
(Term 2014 - 2015)
Dr. Lillian M. Lowery
Secretary-Treasurer of the Board
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.

Page Updated 03.16.2015

Contact Information
Charlene L. Necessary, Administrative Officer
Maryland State Board of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-0467
TTY/TDD:  410-333-6442
Fax:  410-333-2226
Email:  stateboard.msde@maryland.gov
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