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Towson University taps former superintendent Grasmick

Towson University Tuesday named former Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick as a presidential scholar as part of an initiative to improve teacher preparation at the university.

Dr. Maravene S. Loeschke, left, president of Towson University, and Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick

“Towson University has asked Dr. Grasmick to join us in our mission to lead the state and the nation in innovation of teacher education,” Towson President Maravene S. Loeschke said.

Grasmick will report directly to Loeschke and work with all university departments related to teacher preparation, as well as government agencies and the private sector, to guide the university’s efforts.

“I expect she will lead us in candid and in-depth analyses of current teacher preparation methods, and challenge us to find innovative ways to enhance the quality of those we prepare, and the academic success, most importantly, of those they teach,” said Raymond Lorion, dean of Towson’s College of Education.

One of the main focuses of the initiative is to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

“I am struck with the urgency of the need to promote STEM education, as we hope to compete with countries across this world,” said Grasmick, whose title will be Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Education. “If there is one skill that will define success in the 21st century, it will be innovation.”

Grasmick was born in Baltimore, and got her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Towson University in 1961. In 1965, she received a master’s degree in deaf education from Gallaudet University in Washington, and in 1979 earned a doctorate in communicative sciences from the Johns Hopkins University.

Grasmick’s education career began in 1961 as a teacher of deaf children at the William S. Baer School in Baltimore City. She went on to work as a teacher and administrator in Baltimore County schools until 1989, and became Maryland’s first female superintendent in 1991, serving in that position until 2011.

While state superintendent, Grasmick was responsible for appointing Maryland’s Visionary Panel for Better Schools, which won the Education Commission of the States’ annual ECS State Innovation Award in 2003 for developing a 10-year plan to improve education in the state.

Grasmick also served as the Special Secretary for Children, Youth, and Families while superintendent until 1994, making her the only person to hold two Maryland cabinet positions at the same time.

Grasmick’s 20-year tenure as state superintendent also makes her the longest-serving appointed school chief in the country.

In 2007, The Daily Record named Grasmick as one of its annual Influential Marylanders. She has also been inducted into The Daily Record’s Maryland’s Top 100 Women circle of excellence, an honor bestowed upon those who are named by The Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women three times.