Maryland stands on the threshold of a new era in the education of Maryland students as policymakers weigh their options for a new education formula. The Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education, commonly referred to as the “Kirwan” Commission, is a 25-member body working to rewrite Maryland’s current education funding scheme.
The Commission has a heavy charge. They are responsible for reviewing and assessing “current education financing formulas and accountability measures, and how each local school system is spending its funds, including the increased State funds provided through the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act (Chapter 288, Acts of 2002).” While the Commission released preliminary recommendations in January 2018 and hope to release their final report this fall, it was originally scheduled to be released in December 2016.
The interim recommendations for Maryland’s public education system are bold. But we must continue to push for Commissioners to use a race equity lens throughout each of the four working groups (listed below). The Maryland General Assembly will review the Commission’s recommendations and craft legislation to implement changes to the “Thornton formula” that, hopefully, will equitably support the needs of all Maryland children.
These 25 Commission members will shape education funding policy for the next generation of Maryland children. So, who are the “Kirwan” Commissioners?
Dr. Brit Kirwan  

William E. (Brit) Kirwan, Ph.D.
Appointed by: Senate President Thomas Miller, Jr.
Commission Chair (chosen by Governor, Senate President & House Speaker); Dr. Kirwan is the Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland.


Dr. David Steiner   David M. Steiner, Ph.D.
Appointed by: Governor
Dr. Steiner is Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Professor of Education at Johns Hopkins University.


Scott Dorsey   Scott Dorsey
Appointed by: Governor
Mr. Dorsey is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Merritt Properties, LLC.


Nancy King   Nancy J. King
Appointed by: Senate President Thomas Miller, Jr.
Nancy King is a Democratic State Senator representing District 39 in Montgomery County. She serves at the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families.


Richard Madaleno   Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.
Appointed by: Senate President Thomas Miller, Jr.
Rich Madaleno is a Democratic State Senator representing District 18 in Montgomery County. He serves on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.


Paul Pinsky   Paul G. Pinsky
Appointed by: Senate President Thomas Miller, Jr.
Paul Pinksy is a Democratic State Senator representing District 22 in Prince George’s County. He currently sits on the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.


Stephen Waugh   Stephen M. Waugh
Appointed by: Senate President Thomas Miller, Jr.
Stephen Waugh is a Republican State Senator representing District 29 in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties. He is a member of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.


Buzzy Hettleman   Kalman "Buzzy" Hettleman
Appointed by: House Speaker Michael Busch
“Buzzy” Hettleman is a former member of the Baltimore school board, former state human resources secretary, and advocate for children with disabilities.


Adrienne Jones   Adrienne A. Jones
Appointed by: House Speaker Michael Busch
Adrienne Jones is a Democratic State Delegate, serves on the Appropriations Committee, and is the current Speaker Pro Tem, the first African-American female to serve in that position in Maryland.


Anne Kaiser   Anne Kaiser
Appointed by: House Speaker Michael Busch
Anne Kaiser is a Democratic State Delegate representing the District 14 and serves on the Ways and Means Committee. She is Maryland's majority leader and the chair of the Montgomery County House Delegation.


Maggie McIntosh   Maggie McIntosh
Appointed by: House Speaker Michael Busch
Maggie McIntosh is a Democratic State Delegate representing District 43 in Baltimore City. She is the outgoing Chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee and incoming Chairman of the Appropriation Committee. She is also a former Baltimore City Public School teacher.


Alonzo Washington   Alonzo T. Washington
Appointed by: House Speaker Michael Busch
Alonzo Washington is a Democratic State Delegate representing District 22 covering Prince George’s County and a member of the Ways and Means Committee.


Margaret Williams   Margaret E. Williams
Appointed by: State Superintendent of Schools
Margaret Williams is Executive Director of the Maryland Family Network.


Chester Finn   Chester E. Finn, Jr., Ed.D.
Appointed by: President, State Board of Education
Chester Finn is a former professor of education, an educational policy analyst, and a former United States Assistant Secretary of Education.


David Helfman   David E. Helfman
Appointed by: Executive Director, Maryland State Education Association
David Helfman is the Executive Director of Maryland State Education Association (MSEA).


Morgan Showalter   Morgan Showalter
Appointed by: President, Baltimore Teachers Union
Morgan Showalter is a high school special educator in the Baltimore City Public Schools and a member of the Baltimore Teachers Union.


Joy Schaefer   M. Joy Schaefer
Appointed by: Maryland Association of Boards of Education
Joy Shaefer is a member of the Frederick County Public School Board, and immediate past president of Maryland Association of Boards of Education.


Stephen Guthrie   Stephen H. Guthrie
Appointed by: Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland
Stephen Guthrie is Superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools.


Leslie Pellegrino   Leslie R. Pellegrino
Appointed by: Association of School Business Officials
Leslie Pellegrino is the Chief Financial Officer for Frederick County Public Schools.


Elizabeth Leight   Elizabeth Ysla Leight
Appointed by: Maryland PTA
Elizabeth Leight is the past President of the Maryland PTA and current Director of Government Relations and Legal Affairs at Society of Professional Benefit Administrators.


Craig Rice   Craig Rice
Appointed by: Executive Director, Maryland Association of Counties
Craig Rice is a member of the Montgomery County Council.


Bill Valentine   William R. Valentine
Appointed by: Executive Director, Maryland Association of Counties
“Bill” Valentine is the outgoing Allegheny County Commissioner and a member of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACO).


David Brinkley   David R. Brinkley
Appointed by: Ex officio
David R. Brinkley is the Secretary of Budget and Management for the state of Maryland, appointed by Governor Larry Hogan.


Karen Salmon   Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D.
Appointed by: Ex officio
Dr. Salmon is the State Superintendent of Schools.


Bob Caret   Robert L. Caret, Ph.D.
Appointed by: Ex officio
Dr. Caret is the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland.


Working Group 1: Early Childhood Education
Craig Rice (Moderator)
Margaret Williams
David Brinkley
Adrienne Jones
Nancy King
Leslie Pellegrino
Working Group 2: High Quality Teachers and Leaders
Paul Pinsky (Moderator)
David Helfman
Steve Guthrie/Karen Couch
David Steiner
Bill Valentine
Bob Caret
Working Group 3: College and Career Readiness Pathways
Chester Finn (Moderator)
Steve Waugh
Scott Dorsey
Anne Kaiser
Elizabeth Leight
Karen Salmon
CTE Subgroup – Salmon/Dorsey Co-moderators 
Working Group 4: More Resources for At-risk Students
Joy Schaefer (Moderator)
Buzzy Hettleman
Richard Madaleno
Maggie McIntosh
Morgan Showalter
Alonzo Washington
Chairman Brit Kirwan floats among groups

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