Skip to Content

Carey Wright will continue to lead Maryland schools, state board announces

The Maryland State Board of Education on Wednesday appointed Carey Wright, a former Mississippi schools chief who started her career in the D.C. region, to serve as the next state superintendent of schools.

Wright, the current interim state superintendent, will be charged with steering the department of education as it implements the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a landmark education law that funnels billions into public schools in hopes of making the state’s education system one of the best in the nation.

“Growing up in Maryland and spending a majority of my career in Maryland, I knew how good our schools were, and I also know how much better we can be,” Wright said after the vote.

Joshua Michael, the board member who chaired the search committee, said that 26 people completed an application for the job, but “the board coalesced strongly” around Wright.

Michael — who is also vice president of the state board — added that Wright had “extensive experience as an education leader, both in Maryland and nationally in public schools” and a “track record of championing reform.”

In Maryland, the State Board of Education hires the superintendent, and the governor appoints members to that board. Gov. Wes Moore (D) has so far appointed six people to the 14-member board. Wright was unanimously approved by the state board members present; one member was absent.

Moore said in a news release that Wright’s career in public education has “uniquely prepared her to meet this moment” as the leader of the state education system.

“She is a champion for students, and I’m confident that she is the leader we need to fulfill the promise of creating a world-class public education system for Maryland,” Moore said.

Wright was in October, after former state superintendent of schools Mohammed Choudhury from the board.

An by The Washington Post last year found that several former staffers alleged that Choudhury created a “toxic” work environment that drove out his former lieutenants and dozens of veterans in the education agency. Former employees alleged that he had a pattern of micromanagement that held up important work, and several district leaders quietly expressed confusion about the and other guidance from the department. Choudhury said the former employees could not embrace change.

Since Choudhury’s departure, Wright has been guiding the state’s education department, which oversees 24 school districts with about 890,000 students enrolled. She was tasked by the state board with developing a literacy policy that would incorporate more elements of the “science of reading,” a methodology that places an emphasis on phonics while teaching kids how to read. The board set a goal of getting Maryland to place among the top 10 states in reading on the fourth- and eighth-grade National Assessment for Educational Progress, or NAEP — a standardized test sometimes called “the gold standard” of student assessment — by 2027.

The state ranked 40th in the nation in fourth grade reading on the. It ranked 25th for eighth graders.

Wright has had success boosting performance. She is known in the education world as the Mississippi superintendent who raised student reading and math performance in a state that for decades .

Wright is a homegrown Maryland educator. She started her career in Prince George’s County Public Schools — the state’s second largest school system. She also served stints within the Howard and Montgomery county school systems, before becoming the chief academic officer and deputy chief for the D.C. Public Schools’ Office of Teaching and Learning.

In 2013, she was named Mississippi’s state superintendent of education. She retired from that post in 2022.

After the vote Wednesday, several board members congratulated Wright.

Share this articleShare

“I think we’re on the right track, and we are so happy to have you,” said Susan Getty, a state board member from Carroll County.

Wright said her goal is to “listen to all voices at all times” and “make Maryland the education destination.” She added she intends to focus on improving literacy at all grade levels.

“I’m energized by this work. This is work I love,” Wright said. “I am committed to doing everything that I can possibly do to improve outcomes for our children.”

She will start her four-year term in Maryland on July 1 at a salary of $360,500.