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
  Senator 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 was a Democratic State Delegate when she was appointed. She is now the House Speaker, 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
  Delegate 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
  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.

 

Kirwan Commissioner Dr. Karen Couch for Carroll County
  Dr. Karen Couch
Appointed by: Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland
Dr. Couch is Superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools and the replacement Kirwan Commissioner for Stephen Guthrie.

 

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 GROUPS

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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