The state Board of Education is expected to announce today that Nancy S. Grasmick, now state secretary of juvenile services, will be named superintendent of the Maryland school system.
Mrs. Grasmick, a former Baltimore County associate school superintendent, will be filling the post left vacant by Joseph L. Shilling, the former state superintendent of schools, who resigned in the spring to take a post as superintendent of the Queen Anne's County school system.
The appointee, reached for comment last night, called her new job "a wonderful challenge."
"I think that education is currently viewed in our state by our governor and the president [Mr. Bush] as the centerpiece of what happens to this state and the country," she added.
Mrs. Grasmick said that the challenge, as she sees it, "is that we assure there is a quality educational opportunity for every child in every school and so there is accountability so we know that that is happening."
Nearly all of Mrs. Grasmick's education experience came in the Baltimore County school system, where she started as a teacher, said Baltimore County Superintendent of Schools Robert Y. Dubel.
She had worked as a supervisor and principal in the county special education schools and worked in the administration as an assistant superintendent for the county's southeast area, assistant superintendent for county elementary and middle schools and assistant superintendent for administration.
She was named associate superintendent for instruction shortly before she left two years ago to take a state job as special secretary of children, youth and families.
"I recommended her for all those positions," Mr. Dubel said. "I think she will succeed in any job she takes. She works very hard and is a very effective and efficient administrator. We certainly congratulate her."
Michael E. Hickey, Howard County superintendent of schools, said that he thought Mrs. Grasmick "would do a good job."
"I think Nancy has a good reputation, although I don't know her that well," he said. "During her time in Baltimore County, she was well regarded by people there. She has a good operational background in school systems from the county level and in her current job she got some state experience, although not directly in education. I'm optimistic about it."
Mrs. Grasmick said last night that she had Gov. William Donald Schaefer's support in her move from one Cabinet-level position to another. She is part of a relatively small circle of trusted friends of the governor. Her husband, developer Louis J. Grasmick, is one of Mr. Schaefer's closest advisers and supporters.
The new appointee said that she believes the public education system plays a key role in giving children the opportunity to make good choices about their lives.
"When children feel they are unsuccessful in terms of learning, they are often at most risk in terms of getting into the juvenile justice system and getting in trouble with the law," she said.
Her vision includes having social-service agencies work closer with schools to support children, she said.
"I think in supporting the schools there has to be a coordination of inter-agency initiatives to support that child who may come from a less than nurturing home environment, where issues of health and where the sufficiency of a family to adequately care for a child have to be addressed," she said last night.
A Baltimore native, Mrs. Grasmick is a 1961 graduate of Towson State University.
In 1973, she received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University.
She is a member of the Maryland Humanities Council and on the board of the Loyola/Notre Dame Library.