Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland has picked Cheryl L. Dyson as its new superintendent.
The county’s Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment and ratified her four-year contract during a meeting on Tuesday. (It’s still subject to approval by the Maryland state superintendent of schools.)
Dyson becomes the first African American superintendent in the county’s history.
“Her leadership and expertise are unparalleled, but her commitment to each and every student is what impressed the board most,” Board President Brad Young said in a statement Tuesday.
Dyson currently serves as the area associate superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools, and oversees 70 schools with a combined enrollment of 53,000 students. Her career, which spans over two decades, also includes time as a teacher and principal. She’s a graduate of Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro and has degrees from the University of Maryland and Towson University, as well as a doctorate from Hood College.
Board members had plenty of praise for Dyson after the votes.
“Dr. Dyson was a shining star in the interview process,” Young said. “… Her mantra ‘every child, every day’ is exactly what we’re looking for.”
The board’s vice president, Sue Johnson, said Dyson is “simply captivating.”
“She cares very deeply about every child, and has an urgent desire to and drive to ensure that we serve every child every day, wherever they may be in their learning,” Johnson said.
For Dyson, Tuesday’s appointment was, in her words, “a wonderful moment.”
“I can’t express my joy, the elation I feel about the opportunity just to make a difference. … Because it’s a big job,” she said. “But I am ready to roll my sleeves up and do it for every child in this system.”
Dyson’s appointment ends a process that began after former superintendent Terry Alban left late last year, following a settlement with the Justice Department over the school system’s seclusion-and-restraint practices. The school system paid an education search firm $35,000 to help find Alban’s successor.
Interim Superintendent Michael Markoe will remain in charge until July 1, when Dyson begins her new role.