Nancy Grasmick

Nancy S. Grasmick

Age: 72

Personal: Married to Louis J. Grasmick, owner of a lumber company

Education: A graduate of Western High School in Baltimore City, she earned her bachelor's degree from Towson University, her master's from Gallaudet University and her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University.

Work: She began her education career as a teacher of deaf children at the William S. Baer School in Baltimore; she went on to serve as a classroom and resource teacher, principal, supervisor, assistant superintendent and associate superintendent. She was named state special secretary for children, youth and families in 1989 and appointed state schools superintendent in 1991.

Honors: She has served on the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education and received numerous awards, including the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education and the College Board's first President's Award for K-12 Leadership.

Highlights of Nancy S. Grasmick's tenure

1989: Gov. William Donald Schaefer appoints Nancy S. Grasmick as the special secretary for children, youth and families.

1991: The state school board appoints Grasmick as state schools superintendent. She goes on to become the nation's longest-serving state schools superintendent.

1993: The Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, which is seen as a national model, is officially launched. It tests students in six subjects, but is an assessment of schools, not individual students.

1996: The state school board approves testing all high school students as a graduation requirement, as part of Grasmick's high school improvement plan. It isn't until 2007, however, that the state school board approves making the High School Assessments a graduation requirement, for the Class of 2009.

2002: Grasmick unveils the first overhaul of the MSPAPs, which makes the tests more streamlined. The next year, the state implements the new Maryland School Assessments, which are the centerpiece for Grasmick's plans of education reform. Under the MSAs, students receive individual test scores, and schools and school districts are held accountable for their results.

2005: Maryland's education headquarters is renamed the Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building.

2006: Grasmick attempts to take over 11 failing middle and high schools in Baltimore City. The General Assembly responds to criticism from city officials and votes to block the takeover.

2007: The state school board renews Grasmick's contract, despite opposition from Gov. Martin O'Malley and other key legislators.

2009: Education Week, a leading education newspaper, ranks Maryland's public school system first in the nation. This was the first of three No. 1 rankings for the state.

2010: Maryland wins $250 million in Race to the Top federal funds as it vows to implement reforms such as the way it evaluates teachers.

March 30, 2011: Grasmick announces she will retire, effective June 30.

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