Maryland Accelerates Holds Third Annual National Leadership Conference

Aug 4, 2022 2:30 PM

More than 100 people attended the Maryland Accelerates Third Annual National Leadership Conference held in June at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City. 

Maryland Accelerates is a comprehensive partnership between Frostburg State University’s College of Education and three high-need, rural school districts. The program was created to improve the preparation of new teachers, address the needs of rural schools and improve student achievement in Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. 

“My recent experience at the Maryland Accelerates Conference was inspiring and energizing,” said Dr. Traki Taylor, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at FSU. “Being in a space full of prior, long-term, new and aspiring educators re-emphasizes the importance of those who choose to positively touch lives forever. Teaching is a rewarding and impactful profession. It touches every other career in ways that can sometimes be unimaginable.” 

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond served as the keynote speaker for the event, speaking to attendees about the importance of leadership and preparation programs for educators. New York Times No. 1 bestselling author Tiffany Jewell spoke on her book, “This Book is Anti-Racist,” and educated students on the process of waking up, taking action and doing the work to become an anti-racist. 

During the event, Sen. Melony Griffith recognized Sen. George C. Edwards (in absentia) and Dr. Darla Strouse, Maryland State Department of Education executive director, for their exceptional efforts on the Maryland Accelerates Executive Advisory Board. Griffith also presented Presidential Recognition Awards from Dr. Ronald Nowaczyk and citations signed by Sen. Ferguson and Speaker Adrienne Jones to Edwards and Strouse. 

Attendees participated in a variety of professional development activities throughout the conference, including speakers, breakout sessions, working groups, networking and team-building opportunities. The leading national association for teacher residencies, The National Center for Teacher Residencies, facilitated a session around lessons learned from developing and supporting teacher residencies across the nation. The conference closed with a panel of leading experts from Maryland Accelerates district partners discussing the impact of the pandemic on student and teacher mental health. 

This year’s conference was held in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic and included all three cohorts of students from the program; district partners from Washington County Public Schools, Frederick County Public Schools and Garrett County; University System of Maryland employees; FSU faculty; National Center for Teacher Residencies members; MN Associates; edBridge Partners; and Maryland Accelerates program staff.