Maryland’s New Interim Superintendent Promises Transparency and Accountability

Dr. Carey Wright, Maryland’s new interim superintendent of schools, is vowing to bring a culture of openness and responsibility to public education in the state. After just a few months on the job since taking over in October, Wright has already set a new tone of transparency at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

In a surprising move for a top education official, Wright agreed to sit down for an interview with Project Baltimore’s Chris Papst last month. When asked why she was being so accessible, Wright explained, “I’ve always viewed the media as a partner, to be honest with you. I’ve not shied away from the media and being transparent.”

Wright’s openness marks a stark contrast from her predecessor, former superintendent Mohammed Choudhury, who resigned last fall amid Project Baltimore investigations that exposed a disturbing lack of transparency at MSDE. The investigations began after an analysis of state test data showed 23 Baltimore City schools where zero students scored proficient in math. When Project Baltimore tried to question Choudhury about redacting and removing that data from public view, he went into hiding.

Further reporting uncovered Choudhury using a secret email account, auto-deleting text messages in potential violation of state law, and falsely denying his use of the encrypted messaging app Signal for work purposes. This opaque conduct caught the attention of Governor Wes Moore, who stated he wanted “transparency, accountability, and a superintendent that believes in it.”

Just days after Moore’s remarks, Choudhury resigned, paving the way for Wright’s hire as interim leader focused on restoring public trust. Bringing over three decades of education experience from Mississippi, where she raised the state’s ranking from 50th to 35th in K-12 performance, Wright says she prioritized transparency around school data so parents could see how schools measured up.

“I’m a grandparent…I want to know when [my grandson is] at that school, is that school really meeting his needs? And if not, why not?” Wright told Project Baltimore. She has already launched an Assessment and Accountability Task Force to examine how student assessment data is reported publicly over the next eight months.

In her candid interview, Wright expressed hope for an “open and honest” relationship with the media, seeing them as partners in serving the public interest. Her willingness to engage transparently represents a pivotal shift for MSDE after its previous administration’s excessive secrecy. Educators, parents and all Marylanders now have an ally for accountability in the state’s new interim superintendent.