After Nancy Grasmick announced her retirement as superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education, she said her phone was ringing off the hook from those offering new jobs opportunities and non-profit board seats.
The call she answered was from Towson University.
On Tuesday, Towson announced Grasmick's hiring as the university's Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Education. Grasmick, who retired last year as the state superintendent, will work with outside institutions and organizations while crafting a vision for the university's role in education.
Grasmick's new job will place an emphasis on advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics—or STEM—education. Her first day on the job was Monday.
"The number of universities and institutions seeking her after she announced her retirement is too numerous to count, but she selected Towson," saidMaravene Loeschke, Towson's president. "Today is one of Towson University's finest hours."
Grasmick, a Baltimore native, is a Towson product, having earned her bachelor's there in 1961.
Towson has the largest teaching program in the state. Towson's college of education serves 3,000 undergraduate education majors, 450 master's students and 50 doctoral students, while 500 students are in education programs in other departments (like art education), according to Raymond Lorion, the dean of the college of education.
As part of her new role, Grasmick will help overhaul the education programs and work with public- and private-sector partners to impact the national education agenda.
The new $89,000 position is funded through two private donors.
"Towson opened my eyes to the world and now I've had some success, I want to give back," said Vince Talbert, vice president of merchant marketing for PayPal and a 1990 Towson graduate who helped fund Grasmick's new position with Ed St. John, founder and chairman of Baltimore-based St. John Properties.
Talbert added, "There are more open jobs in technology than there are unemployed people."
Grasmick spoke highly of Loeschke and said her selection as Towson's president last year helped bring her aboard.
"Leadership matters," she said. "And I wanted to be affiliated with a leader who had real vision, who was willing to make (education) a priority and to be able to see the benefit of the core mission to the university."
A previous version of this article stated that a pending state grant helps fund Grasmick's new position. A Towson University spokeswoman later clarified Grasmick's salary is entirely funded through private money.