Assistant State Superintendent
Maryland State Department of Education
Tiara Booker-Dwyer is proud that her work has an impact on every student in Maryland public schools. As an assistant state superintendent for the Department of Education’s Division of College and Career Readiness, Booker-Dwyer is developing a four-year statewide plan that will provide more support for career and technical education (CTE), school improvement initiatives and leadership development in school districts, colleges and universities.
The former science teacher and STEM program director, who started in the position in May 2019, said teaching students to apply the knowledge they learn in school to the workforce has always been important to her.
“CTE pairs academic knowledge with technical skills to prepare students for in-demand, high-skilled and high-wage jobs,” she said. “CTE programs provide the opportunity for students to earn industry-recognized certifications, acquire college credit and gain work experience. The pandemic has demonstrated how vital CTE is to Maryland’s current and future workforce.”
While Booker-Dwyer and the Department of Education expand opportunities for students to earn industry credentials and college credits, the pandemic has had an impact for now on the students’ work-based learning experiences. “While students can learn theory virtually, hands-on opportunities at worksites is necessary in programs like biotechnology, construction, nursing, cosmetology and homeland security,” she said.
Booker-Dwyer has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lincoln University, a master’s degree in biology from Johns Hopkins University and a graduate certificate in school administration and supervision from Johns Hopkins.
Booker-Dwyer said she was inspired to pursue her career by the people who fought for her to get a high-quality public education and access to workforce training.
“Students can redefine their life outcomes with the proper education and work experience,” she said. “Success happens when preparation meets opportunity. “
Booker-Dwyer said the key to her success is always keeping students first. “Every decision that I make is grounded in the question, ‘How will this benefit students?’ ”