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Lillian Lowery named Md. schools superintendent

Delaware Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery has been chosen to be Maryland’s next state superintendent of schools, officials announced Friday.

Lowery has been Delaware’s secretary of education since 2009. She is known for facilitating a broad-based statewide strategic planning and grant application process that resulted in Delaware’s selection as the first state to be awarded the federal Race to the Top grant. The initiative uses financial incentives to encourage states to produce measurable gains in student achievement.

James Degraffenreidt, president of the Maryland State Board of Education, said the board actively recruited Lowery for a variety of reasons, including her success in Race to the Top.

“She has deep personal experience with what Maryland is going through now in fulfilling its commitments under” that program, Degraffenreidt said in a telephone interview.

He also said she had a strong track record of working with all the stakeholders in education, including students, teachers, administrators and elected officials.

She will replace interim State Superintendent Bernard Sadusky, who has served in the post since July. He replaced Nancy Grasmick, who retired last year after 20 years as superintendent.

Lowery will start July 1.

“The success of the state of Maryland’s public education transformation agenda, just as the national agenda, is an economic must and the means to future success for your youngest citizens,” Lowery said in a statement. “For our nation’s children to be prepared to thrive in the 21st century economy, creating and attaining jobs that will sustain them and their families, the system of education must ensure that student performance expectations for Marylanders are comparable to performance expectations of children across the nation and the world.”

Lowery, who has worked in education since 1976, has been the secretary of education in Delaware since 2009. Before that, she was the superintendent in Christiana School District in Delaware’s New Castle County for three years. She also served as an assistant superintendent in Fairfax County, Va., and an area administrator in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Lowery holds a doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. She also holds a master’s of education in curriculum and instruction from University of North Carolina, and a bachelor of arts in English and secondary education from North Carolina Central University.