BALTIMORE — Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon announced this week she will not seek reappointment as superintendent upon her term’s expiration at the end of June 2020.
Salmon, who was elevated to the role in 2016 following a unanimous vote by the Maryland Board of Education, said she is “honored to have had the opportunity to lead education in Maryland” during her four-year assignment.
“Together, with many stakeholders and the state board of education, we have accomplished much,” she said. “My focus for the remainder of my term will be to continue to provide a quality education to our students and to prepare a strong foundation on which the next state superintendent can build.”
Salmon’s departure from the superintendent post rounds out her 40-year career in public school education, which she began on the Eastern Shore as a special education teacher in the Caroline County Public Schools system.
Salmon later served as assistant superintendent of Talbot County Public Schools in 1997 and then superintendent in 2003. Her appointment as Talbot schools superintendent lasted 10 years.
State Board President Warner Sumpter said in a statement that Salmon “will be greatly missed,” but the “(board members) wish her well in her future endeavors and offer our sincere appreciation for her tireless efforts for Maryland children.”
“While the Maryland State Board is saddened by her decision, it is also grateful for her exceptional leadership,” Sumpter said. “Dr. Salmon brought many years of executive experience to her position and her passion for equity and excellence has benefited all of Maryland’s students.
“Dr. Salmon is greatly respected nationally and by many education partners throughout the state. It is her leadership that has placed Maryland education on solid footing for future achievements.”
After Salmon's role in Talbot schools, she briefly left Maryland for New York, where she served as superintendent of the Bay Shore Union Free School District in Bay Shore, N.Y.
Upon her return to Maryland, Salmon joined the Maryland State Department of Education in 2015 as assistant state superintendent for college and career readiness. The following year, Salmon took over as interim deputy superintendent for school effectiveness, which led her to her current position as state superintendent.
Dr. Kelly Griffith, who succeeded Salmon as Talbot schools superintendent in 2013, has nodded to Salmon’s expertise in the past, acknowledging her “passion and commitment to children.”
“Karen has been a dedicated educator in the state of Maryland,” Griffith said.
Andrew Burke, president of the Talbot County Education Association, echoed Griffith’s sentiments in prior statements, calling Salmon “one of the most determined, hardest working educators” he’s worked with in his career.
While it’s unclear what’s next for Salmon, it appears she’s bowing out with the support of her colleagues and a long résumé of accomplishments in the realm of public education.