About MABE


About MABE


Provide members with a strong collective voice and support local school board governance through professional development, advocacy and member services.

Founded in 1957, the Maryland Association of Boards of Education is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to serving and supporting boards of education in Maryland. MABE is a leading advocate for public education in the state. All 24 Maryland boards of education are members of MABE.

MABE Governing Documents:

2019 – 2024 Strategic Plan

MABE Bylaws – last amended at the 2019 Annual Business Meeting

Continuing Resolutions – updated at the 2019 Annual Business Meeting

Our Vision

MABE icon

MABE is a champion for excellence in public education.

Core Values

Our core values are integral to who we are and how we work. They are the guiding principles by which we conduct ourselves as we seek to fulfill our mission.

  • We serve public school boards.
  • We champion local governance.
  • We create and encourage collaborative relationships.
  • We value the diversity that enriches our school communities.
  • We champion educational equity and excellence for each student.
  • We are a safe place to learn, laugh, share, and network.


Professional Development: Enhance professional learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all members.

Advocacy: Enhance and refine MABE’s leadership position, among education advocates, by providing quality resources to boards, board members, and staff, effectively advocating for MABE’s positions and the role of local board governance.

Community and Business Partnerships: Provide avenues for business and nonprofits to connect with MABE member boards to facilitate student achievement, enabling them to operate more efficiently, offer benefits to staff, or generate revenue for the school system and MABE.

Communications and Marketing: Provide meaningful information to and through board members that serves and supports them in their work, informs the larger community, and communicates the value of MABE as a professional organization.

Association Governance and Management: Ensure the effective and efficient growth and functioning of the association.

Equity: Assist member boards in developing a shared understanding and vision of educational equity; by helping them to formulate and implement an equity policy that provides educational equity for each student by creating and maintaining equitable, inclusive, and diverse environments.


MABE staff are dedicated to pursuing our mission to support Maryland’s boards of education.

MABE Staff

Frances Hughes Glendening  |  Executive Director

Steven P. James  |  Deputy Executive Director

John W. Simmons III, CPA |  Chief Financial Officer

Stephen C. Bounds, Esq.  |   Director of Legal & Policy Services

John R. Woolums, Esq.  |  Director of Governmental Relations

Jackie Weisman  |  Director of Communications & Marketing

Molly Young  |  Director of Board Development

Jamaria Fernandez  |  Executive Assistant

Tracy Oldaker  |  Accounting & Administrative Assistant

Tiara Feith  |  Administrative Aide & Receptionist

Insurance Staff

Steven P. James  |  Deputy Executive Director

Randy Gaston  |  Director of Information Technology

John W. Simmons, III, CPA  |  Chief Financial Officer

Michele Brickley  |  Executive Assistant

John Magoon  |  Risk Management Officer

Lisa Spencer  |  Risk Management Officer

Claims Center Staff

Board of Directors

Martha James-Hassan

The board of directors is comprised of the officers of the association, the immediate past president, and twelve additional members. All must be current members of their local boards of education. The immediate past president may serve an additional year on the board of directors as an ex-officio, non-voting member.

Members may be nominated by their local boards. The nominating committee, comprised of local board members, submits a slate of officers and members at the annual business meeting, and the slate is voted upon by the membership. The officers and members serve a one year term beginning the day after the election. The board schedules five meetings a year in addition to an annual retreat.

Should there become a vacancy in the presidency, the president-elect assumes the presidency. Vacancies among other officers or board of directors members are filled by appointment of the president with the approval of the board of directors.

Martha James-Hassan, President, Baltimore City
Tammy Fraley, President-Elect, Allegany County
Virginia McGraw, Treasurer, Charles County
Pamela Cousins, Secretary, Calvert County


C. Tolbert Rowe, Past President, Caroline County
Karin Bailey, St. Mary’s County
Mavis Ellis, Howard County
Shebra Evans, Montgomery County
Joseph Goetz, Kent County
Julie Hummer, Anne Arundel County
Beverly Kelley, Queen Anne’s County
Laura Layton, Dorchester County
William Malesh, Cecil County
Michael Murray, Wicomico County
Penny Nicholson, Somerset County
Dr. Alvin Thornton, Prince George’s County
Melissa Williams Washington County

Board Meetings
All regular meetings occur on a Wednesday and are held from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Special meetings are sometimes held on other days. Please check the MABE calendar for meeting specifics.


2019 - 2020 Meeting Dates

November 1  |  Officers’ Retreat
November 2 |  Board Retreat
November 20
January 22
February 26
April 22
July 15
September 16


Standing Committees

Budget | 2019 – 2020 Chair: Virginia McGraw
Each year, this committee proposes to the Board of Directors a balanced annual budget and establishes a dues structure adequate to support it. The committee, chaired by the treasurer, consists of one member from each member board and meets 1-2 times during the year to accomplish their work.

MABE Awards Committee  | Chair: Linda Chinnia
The Distinguished School Board Service Award was established in memory of MABE’s first executive director. Presented every other year (alternating with the Carl W. Smith Excellence in Education Award), the honor recognizes a former or current board of education member for outstanding service at the local and state level. Requests for nominations are sent to member boards in March, and the committee meets in July to determine a recipient.

The Excellence in Education Award was established in 2012 by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education to honor the retiring executive director. It may be presented every other year (alternating with the Charles W. Willis Memorial Award) to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service to excellence in public education in Maryland. Current and former board of education members are not eligible. Requests for nominations are sent to member boards in September, and the committee meets in January to choose a recipient.

Conference Program | 2019 – 2020 Chairs: Melissa Williams & Latina Wilson
This committee establishes the program, selects the speakers, and determines the program schedule for the annual conference. The committee meets approximately six times throughout the year and provides assistance during the conference.

Federal Relations Network | 2019 – 2020 Chair: Karin Bailey
This committee meets throughout the year to discuss pending issues and coordinate meetings on Capitol Hill. The committee is comprised of board members appointed to represent the association in communicating NSBA and MABE positions to Maryland’s federal delegation, including our two U.S. Senators and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, MABE representatives attend the annual FRN conference in Washington DC, and participate in the “Day on the Hill” congressional office visits.

Legislative | 2019 – 2020 Chair: Julie Hummer, Vice-Chair: Mavis Ellis
This committee holds monthly meetings to guide the association’s lobbying activities in Annapolis and invites policy and legislative leaders to exchange ideas. MABE’s Director of Governmental Relations, in coordination with MABE leadership, conducts direct lobbying activities including written and oral testimony before the general assembly.

Nominating | 2019 – 2020 Chair: C. Tolbert Rowe
This committee is comprised of board members and chaired by the immediate past president. Nominations for the board of directors are requested from member boards and then forwarded to the committee for their consideration. After deliberation, the committee submits a proposed slate of officers and board of directors members to the general membership for their consideration at the annual business meeting.

Policy & Procedures | 2019 – 2020 Chair: Cathy Allen
This committee formulates the rules and expectations for how MABE committees function.

Resolutions | 2019 – 2020 Chair: Michael Garman
This committee reviews, edits, and forwards, with or without recommendation, all resolutions, and beliefs and policies submitted by member boards of education in accordance with the bylaws. The committee meets once prior to the annual business meeting.

Ad Hoc Committees
Equity | Chair: Shebra Evans

Member Boards of Education

MABE’s membership is comprised of all 24 boards of education in Maryland.

Associate membership is open to all former Maryland board of education members. Associate members are able to keep abreast of current issues and challenges facing public education and Maryland board members. They receive the MABE Directory of school systems and members, as well as our electronic publications. Associate members are welcomed at various MABE events, including the annual conference. To learn more, please see our associate membership brochure. Completed applications may be submitted to Jackie Weisman, Director of Communications & Marketing.

MABE also has an Affiliates Program for businesses.

Member Boards

Awards Programs

Distinguished School Board Service Award

In light of the current health crisis, MABE is extending the Distinguished School Board Award nomination deadline to April 15th at this time.  Additionally, we will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves.

Is a current or former member of a Maryland school board deserving of MABE’s highest honor?

2020 Award Criteria & Nomination Form

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education Distinguished School Board Service Award, inspired by the contributions made to the organization by MABE’s first full-time executive director, Charles W. Willis, represents recognition by peers of outstanding service at the local and state level. The award is limited to a single honoree biennially.

The MABE Awards Committee, made up of current board members from around the state, meets in July to determine the recipient. Their decision is based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates a keen understanding of the role of a school board member
  • Works collaboratively with fellow board members and staff
  • Values diversity by advocating for the educational needs of all children
  • Works proactively to foster community engagement with all education stakeholders
  • Represents the school board and school system in an ethical and honorable manner
  • Demonstrates leadership at the state or national level

Nomination forms are sent to board offices and board presidents in January; nominations close in April. (specific dates vary year to year).

As a board, please consider nominating a current or former Maryland school board member for this highest honor.

Please contact Frances Hughes Glendening, Executive Director, for further information.


Excellence in Education Award

2019 Excellence in Education Award Nomination Form

This award was established in 2012 to honor the retiring executive director, Carl W. Smith. It may be presented every other year (alternating with the Maryland Association Boards of Education Distinguished Board Member Service Award) to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service to excellence in public education in Maryland.

Current and former local board members are ineligible for this award. (These individuals may be nominated for the Distinguished School Board Service Award, which is exclusively for current or former local board members.

Please note:

  • An individual must be nominated by three current board members to be a finalist – a primary nominator with the support of two additional board members. The three nominators need not come from the same board of education, but they must be members of MABE.
  • Current and former local board members are ineligible for this award. (These individuals may be nominated for the MABE Distinguished Board Service Award which is exclusively for current or former local board members.)
  • Candidates from previous years may be re-nominated; previous recipients of the award are ineligible.
  • Responses to award criteria that exceed 1000 words will not be considered by the committee.
  • Nominations received after the deadline will not be considered.


Past Award Recipients

All Board Service Academies and committee meetings are virtual during this time.

If you have any questions, please email jweisman@mabe.org.