Towson University announced this week that former state schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick will join the school as a Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Education, a role that includes collaborating with existing staff to improve the school's teaching programs.
At a March 13 press conference, Towson University President Maravene Loeschke said Grasmick, an alumna of Towson, will work to tie together three of the universities top initiatives: innovation in teacher education, STEM education for teacher and workforce preparation, and leadership development.
As part of her duties, Grasmick will organize public forums to examine curriculum, academic assessment, performance evaluation, organizational and economic issues, charter schools and non-traditional teacher preparation programs. She'll also work with the private sector for professional development initiatives.
"People may ask, 'Why Towson?' " Grasmick said during the press conference. "I was graduated from Towson when it was a teacher preparation institution. The lessons I learned on this campus are lessons that have guided me through my career.
"I have continued to have multiple interactions with this university and its faculty, and I cannot think of a better place to make this a national model for teacher and leadership preparation and continuing education," she said.
A graduate of Western High School in Baltimore City, Grasmick earned her bachelor's degree from then-Towson State College, her master's from Gallaudet University and her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University.
She began her education career as a teacher of deaf children at the William S. Baer School in Baltimore. In 1989, then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed her as special secretary for children, youth and families, and in 1991 the state school board named her as Maryland's first female state schools superintendent.
She went on to become the nation's longest-serving state schools superintendent, stepping down from that post in June 2011.
"She's joining us because of her respect for Towson's teacher education and Towson's long history as the largest provider of teachers in the state," Loeschke said. "She's joining us because of her dedication to education in Maryland. She's joining us because she believes in what we're doing and our commitment to doing it even better.
"And she's joining us to do what she does best: guide, mentor, enlighten, support, remove barriers, provide connections, raise resources, and supply quality ideas that support our kids."