Maryland Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury, considered a visionary, resigns


Mohammed Choudhury. PHOTO: moh_choudhury

Widely recognized as a “visionary” in the Maryland Education System, South-Asian American Mohammed Choudhury, who assumed the role of the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2021, resigned from his position on October 6th as many school district leaders had “concerns about his management style.” His term was slated to end in June 2024.

A September 29th press statement from the Maryland State Board of Education stated, “The State Board and Superintendent Choudhury have come to a mutual agreement on transition that results in Mr. Choudhury resigning as State Superintendent of Schools on October 6, 2023,” adding “Mr. Choudhury will transition into the role of Senior Advisor to the State Board of Education on policy and strategy matters effective October 7, 2023, and will serve through June 30, 2024.”

In his Advisory role, Choudhury will offer high-level expertise, and counsel to the State Board on vital policy matters related to the execution of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the 2023 State Board, and Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE) Strategic Plan, as well as other priorities outlined by the State Board and MDSE.

“During Choudhury’s tenure, dozens of veterans left the department, and school district leaders around the state complained quietly that guidance about grant programs and implementation of the reform program, known as the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, was confusing and often late. Choudhury had said that workers who left could not embrace change,” The Washington Post reported noting Choudhury who was supposed to secure a second term unexpectedly faced a decline in support from the majority of the 14-member board. It further reported that the shift was attributed to Choudhury’s mismanagement of the department and poor interactions he had with other state officials.

Another report in Maryland Matters pointed out Robert Eccles, a former high-ranking education official, who departed last year, testified before the board stating Choudhury’s leadership approach resulted in “toxicity.” Eccles along with others also sent a letter to the department detailing that Choudhury’s style created a hostile work environment and led to departure of experienced staff due to micromanagement.

“MSDE is a toxic workplace for staffers. They work in fear, harassment, intimidation, disrespect. MSDE takes zero accountability for this behavior,” Eccles said. “The superintendent [is] clearly smart, clearly knowledgeable, but clearly not fit for the role. He doesn’t grow trust. He doesn’t collaborate or empower others.”

Following Choudhury’s decision not to seek a second term, Maryland Governor Wes Moore in a statement noted “I want to thank Superintendent Choudhury for his service to the state of Maryland. He led the Maryland State Department of Education admirably during an unprecedented global pandemic and a transformative time for our state’s education system.”

Governor Moore’s statement further added that Choudhury has successfully implemented the first phase of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future positioning Maryland’s students and educators for success in its ongoing efforts to make its public schools the best in the nation.

The State Board also thanked Choudhury “for his dedicated and excellent service to the children and educators of Maryland,” and said it looked forward to working with him in his new role. “Mr. Choudhury successfully led the State through phase one of the transformation of Maryland’s education system, which included rebuilding MSDE for the Blueprint era, accelerating improvements in reading proficiency rates, and launching innovative programs to chart the course for a successful future” the State Board added.

On September 15th, Choudhury conveyed to the State Board his decision not to seek a second term, citing a desire to explore other opportunities. On September 26th, following his announcement, a State Board search committee was established to oversee a nationwide search for a State Superintendent of Schools, set to commence a complete four-year term starting on July 1, 2024.

Since then, the State Board, in its unanimous decision, designated Dr. Carey Wright as the interim State Superintendent of Schools, serving for the duration of the current term until June 30, 2024.

Before his position as the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Choudhury served as the Associate Superintendent and Chief Strategy, Talent and Innovation Officer for the San Antonio Independent School District. In that position, Choudhury endeavored to enhance opportunities and elevate success rates for students facing systemic barriers.

Recognized for co-leading the overhaul of San Antonio’s sizable school system, primarily composed of economically-disadvantaged students, he implemented a novel system that effectively addressed inequities. This initiative propelled the district from being “one of the lowest-performing to the fastest-improving in Texas” said his profile on the Maryland Public Schools website.

Choudhury’s “passion for education began with his diverse and engaging experiences as a child and student attending largely economically-disadvantaged schools in Los Angeles,” it added, noting he started his professional journey as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles and is a first-generation American and son of Bangladeshi immigrants.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here