February 16, 2015
Maryland Superintendent of the Year Stephen Guthrie credits his McDaniel graduate school experience — both as a student and as an educator — for much of his career success.
“I had wonderful preparation on both sides of the desk,” says Guthrie, who is serving in his fifth year as chief of Carroll County Public Schools. He earned his master of science in Education at McDaniel in 1984 and served on the faculty of the graduate program for 10 years. “I was inspired by the people who taught me and then, when I was hired back as a professor, I learned firsthand how much preparation, thought and collaboration with the school systems goes into ensuring the content that is being delivered in the classroom is relevant.”
The Carroll County Public School System, which employs about 2,200 teachers and 42 principals, continues to enjoy a productive relationship with the college, Guthrie says: “Our biggest hiring class comes from McDaniel.”
Commended by the Board of Education of Carroll County for his ability to lead the school system through challenging economic times while always putting student learning first, Guthrie cites three critical elements for a successful education system: dedicated employees, committed students and a supportive community.
He says he’s had the benefit of all three in Carroll County, where he has worked since 1982, serving first as a teacher and later a school counselor. Prior to his current position as superintendent, Guthrie also served as director of human resources and assistant superintendent of administration for Carroll County Public Schools under former superintendent Charles “Chuck” Ecker, an undergraduate alumnus of McDaniel.
Indications of community support include an attendance rate of 98 percent, a dropout rate of less than 1 percent and the highest graduation rate in the state, Guthrie says, “These are all indicators that parents are with us.”
The school board is clearly with him. Board President Virginia Harrison says, “We are proud of our school system, which reflects Mr. Guthrie’s leadership as Superintendent of Schools. He earns the respect and confidence of staff, elected officials and community leaders through his diligence, dedication and trustworthiness.”
Jean Lewis, President of the Carroll County Maryland NAACP, in her nomination cited Guthrie for working closely with the organization and community leaders from the start of his tenure. She praised Guthrie for placing a strong focus on the achievement gap, recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce and building cultural proficiency. “In Superintendent Guthrie, we have found a true partner who is concerned about the social and educational development of all children in our community. He is a dedicated and devoted public servant who cares about our community and is a man of integrity who honors his word.”
Guthrie, who was recognized with McDaniel’s prestigious Bailer Award in 2011, currently serves as the president of the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland, the first Carroll County superintendent to hold this office. His strongest supporter, he says, is his wife of 25 years, Barbara Shipley Guthrie, a longtime educator who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at McDaniel in 1971 and 1976.