Michael J. Martirano
Howard County Public School System
Growing up, Michael J. Martirano faced a number of challenges. He was a child of poverty. His mother died when he was 10 and he was placed in foster care for a time. Education, however, became the great equalizer for him.
Starting his professional career as a science teacher, Martirano has more than 35 years in the educational field holding various positions including principal at Laurel High School, faculty associate at Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary’s County Public Schools superintendent and West Virginia Department of Education State Superintendent of Schools. After a year as interim superintendent of Howard County Public School System, he was formally named to the position in 2018.
“When I am working with our children who have the greatest need, I actually see myself and knowing that if I didn’t have someone in my corner to work with me, maybe I would not be in the position that I am today,” he said.
Martirano notes when he looks at students and sees those with challenges, he is driven “because I feel like I am their voice. I am the voice of the children who are underdogs, underserved by our community and our nation and I work every day tirelessly to provide those supports to the students who need those supports.”
When a child drops out of school, Martirano knows the individual will face more challenges. Throughout his career, he has focused on the graduation rate to ensure every child is achieving tangible results. “I’m very proud that the work that I have been able to do with other educators has yielded results that affect the lives of children where more children are graduating, going on to college, going to technical schools,” he said. “That is extremely heartwarming.”