Mayor Scott Selects Educator, Advocate, Community Leader for Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners
Friday Feb 19th, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (Friday, February 19, 2021) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott has selected former Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women teacher Ateira Griffin for the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners today. An educator-turned nonprofit leader and advocate for educational equity, Griffin has been guided in her career by the belief that education is a pathway to opportunity, and that it is her responsibility to make sure the challenges she faced growing up in Baltimore do not persist for today’s young people—and from generation to generation. Griffin will be officially sworn into the role in early March.
“I am proud to appoint Ateira Griffin to Board of School Commissioners, one of the most important leadership platforms we have in Baltimore for improving the lives of our children and youth,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Ms. Griffin’s fierce advocacy for young people and her cross-sector experience—and understanding of the complexities of cross-agency collaboration, by extension—will advance our collective ability to equitably strengthen our public education system. My administration is committed to a more collaborative and transparent relationship with City Schools, and in Ms. Griffin we will have an excellent partner in that effort.”
Griffin fills the vacancy created by the fall 2020 departure of Commissioner Andy Frank, whose term expired last summer. Mayor Scott will open a new selection process this spring to fill at least three more School Board vacancies, as the terms of Commissioners Martha James-Hassan, Linda Chinnia and Michelle Harris Bondima expire in June 2021. Commissioner Vernon Reid’s term also expires in June but, unlike his colleagues, he is eligible for reappointment.
“I truly understand the zip code destiny our city dictates,” Griffin wrote in her application. “My educational journey has operated in extremes from attending Medfield Heights to Leith Walk, Chinquapin to Poly and Morgan State University to Johns Hopkins University. Our dichotomous educational landscape is ever present in my life and allows me to understand on multiple levels what systems, policies and ways of being Baltimore City Public Schools will need to propel our students and families forward. Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson said, ‘Service to your people is the rent you pay for living on this earth.’ I will gladly serve.”
Griffin is the founder and CEO of BOND, Inc.–Building Our Nation’s Daughters, a nonprofit that works to build effective communication strategies for single mothers and their daughters. Inspired by her strong relationship with her own single mother and her time at BLSYW, where she was both teacher and student confidant, she started BOND through an Open Society Institute (OSI) fellowship. Griffin has also been the Director of Regional Leadership Development at Leadership for Educational Equity since early 2019, prior to which she worked in City Council Member Zeke Cohen’s office as Director of Civic Engagement. From 2011 to 2016 she taught algebra at BLSYW, where she also served as Dean of Students from 2013 to 2016. And her fight for educational equity dates back to her days as a student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, where she helped lead a campaign for more funding so all Poly students could have access to the textbooks they needed for science, math and engineering classes.
The School Board is responsible for raising the level of academic achievement of the more than 80,000 students enrolled in Baltimore City Public Schools, and for improving the management and administration of the city’s public school system. It is comprised of 10 commissioners, nine adults who serve three-year terms and one student who serves a one-year term. In 2022, an additional two elected commissioners will join the board, making for a 12-member body. The mayor appoints commissioners from candidate pools recommended by a community panel, the final step in a larger application process led by the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success.