TU Presidential Scholar honored for career defined by collaboration, innovation

By Rebecca Kirkman on July 2, 2019

TU Presidential Scholar Nancy Grasmick to receive MABE Excellence in Education Award

Nancy Grasmick

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) selected Towson University Presidential Scholar Nancy Grasmick as the recipient of its 2019 Excellence in Education Award.

The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service to excellence in public education in Maryland. The award will be presented during the association’s annual conference in Annapolis on October 3.

Maryland’s first female superintendent, Grasmick also remains the longest-serving appointed superintendent in the United States, with 20 years of service as the State Superintendent of Maryland Public Schools. Beginning as a classroom teacher at the William S. Baer School for the Deaf in Baltimore, Grasmick rose through the ranks to become a principal, supervisor and assistant and associate superintendent.

“We are so proud of our alumna, Dr. Nancy Grasmick," President Kim Schatzel said. "Even after her illustrious career as an educator and state schools superintendent, her leadership as our presidential scholar assures that her legacy will continue to make an impact in education.”

In 2012, Grasmick was named the university’s Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Towson University in 1961, her master’s degree in deaf education from Gallaudet University and her doctoral degree in communicative sciences from Johns Hopkins University.

The Excellence in Education Award nomination, which was submitted by a Maryland school board member and supported by no less than three individuals, noted that Grasmick “made significant, visionary strides to improve the quality of public schools across the state. Combining experience with knowledge, vision, and strong political skills, the nominee instituted changes that have defined education in Maryland for decades. The nominee’s visionary leadership had a ripple effect across the nation as other states followed Maryland’s lead.”

Read more: TU celebrates Women’s Leadership Collective Launch, hosts Presidential Scholar Forum

For Grasmick, the award serves as a reminder that her leadership continues to make an impact eight years after she left her role as superintendent. She’s most proud of the trust and collaboration she developed between the state and local school districts.

“There was always this wonderful collaboration between us,” Grasmick says. “And I think this award speaks to the value of that level of collaboration.”

During her tenure, Maryland was ranked as the best state in the nation for public education for five years, beginning in 2009. Maryland was also ranked the top school system in the nation for Advanced Placement test scores.

“I’m very proud of those benchmarks, because it spoke to what we were offering our students was high quality,” Grasmick says.

In her role as Presidential Scholar, Grasmick continues to advocate for students throughout the state.

“I hope I can continue to march on in making a contribution, because I believe the future is defined by education. It's true here at Towson, even [beyond] the College of Education, across every department,” she says. “At the heart and soul of it, it’s all about the education of our young people to take on the world.”

The Excellence in Education Award is the latest in a string of prestigious awards recognizing Grasmick’s contributions to education. In 2017, she was inducted into the Daily Record Icon Honors, and her team was awarded the Daily Record Innovator of the Year for its ground-breaking work in developing and implementing LYNX at Frederick High School—a curriculum that creates personalized plans for success based on each student’s unique talents and interests.

Previously, Grasmick was awarded the 2015 Baltimore County Woman of the Year and was inducted into the Baltimore Business & Civic Hall of Fame in 2016.

At TU, Grasmick has also spearheaded the university’s UTeach program, Signature Forums Series and Women’s Leadership Collective.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.