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State education board forms search, transition committees to replace outgoing superintendent

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State education board forms search, transition committees to replace outgoing superintendent

Sep 26, 2023 | 9:38 pm ET
By Danielle J. Brown
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State education board forms search, transition committees to replace outgoing superintendent
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Maryland State Board of Education President state board president Clarence Crawford. Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

Maryland’s top education officials are creating an action plan to find the state’s next public schools superintendent, after Mohammed Choudhury announced he will not be seeking another term in the role and is opting to “pursue other opportunities.”

At a Tuesday board meeting, also streamed online, Maryland State Board of Education President Clarence Crawford announced that the department will be creating two groups to facilitate the transition and to search for Choudhury’s eventual replacement, with the hope of announcing the final selection by next summer.

Meanwhile, questions about how long Choudhury will remain the state’s superintendent are unanswered. His term is slated to end on June 30, 2024, but it is unclear if he will stay to complete his term.

“The State Board and State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury have not finalized an agreement on when Mr. Choudhury will conclude his tenure as State Superintendent,” according to a press release from the board issued Tuesday.

At the board meeting, Crawford noted that he has received questions on how Choudhury’s exit will occur, but he did not provide an answer.

“Questions about the superintendent — we are still working through how all of that will go,” Crawford said at the meeting.

“It’s no big deal. These things happen. We’ll get it done,” he reassured.

Crawford will lead the the transition joint committee, according to the press release. State board members and leadership within the Maryland State Department of Education will also be involved on the transition team.

The search committee will be led by Board Vice President Joshua Michael. Crawford and other state board members also will participate in the search committee.

Ideally, the search committee will have someone selected in time to start a four-year term on July 1 in 2024. But it will take a multi-phased process to find a replacement, according to the press release. The first step is to find a search firm to help the board seek qualified candidates.

“We’re confident that we will be able to do this,” Crawford said at the meeting.

On Sept. 15, the Board of Education and Choudhury issued a joint statement announcing that he would not seek a second term as superintendent, answering the looming question of whether his contract would be renewed or not.

Choudhury started as Maryland’s superintendent of schools in 2021, and has been met with both praise and controversy.

He received national attention for his efforts on economic integration of schools, but his leadership style drew scrutiny from some lawmakers and former employees. Earlier this month, Gov. Wes Moore cast doubt on Choudhury’s performance as superintendent.

At the meeting, Crawford asserted that as the board looks for a new superintendent, their priorities as the state’s education agency will remain focused.

“The number one thing that we and the superintendent want to do is keep our focus on children,” Crawford said. “Making sure that we stay focused there.”