Former State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick will head a commission being formed to study the structure of the Howard County Board of Education, County Executive Ken Ulman announced Wednesday, Aug. 3.

The commission will examine the different models for structuring a school board, look at other jurisdictions to see how the models have worked and make recommendations on which model would be best for Howard County. Last week, Ulman talked about the need for such a commission to help foster diversity on the school board.

"Howard County has great schools, but even the top school systems cannot rest on their laurels," Ulman said in a statement. "I've heard the concerns of residents and community groups who feel they don't have a voice on the school board. I am thrilled that Dr. Grasmick has agreed to look into these critical issues."

Ulman has requested the commission to submit recommendations to him by Sept. 26. Any recommended changes to the structure of the school board would have to be approved by the General Assembly.


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The seven nonpartisan board members are elected at large (county-wide) for four-year terms. Four seats are voted on during gubernatorial elections and three during presidential elections.

Models such as election by district or a combination of elected and appointed members have been discussed as possible ways to better promote geographical and racial diversity.

Grasmick retired in June after serving 20 years as the state superintendent. Her education experience spans 50 years.

"I am proud of the schools in Howard County and all of Maryland, and I am pleased to help Executive Ulman achieve the goal of ensuring that Howard has the best education system possible, which includes the best leadership structure possible," Grasmick said in a statement.

The six other members Ulman named to the commission are: Bianca Chang, principal of Chinese Language School of Columbia; Patricia Dodson, a retired Howard County teacher; Kevin Doyle, trustee of Howard Community College; Debbie Drown, former principal of Gorman Crossing Elementary School; Lou Hutt, business owner and former trustee of Howard Community College; and Paul Lemle, president of the Howard County Education Association.

Sen. Jim Robey and Del. Guy Guzzone will serve as ex officio members of the commission.