PRINCESS ANNE — A former Maryland State Teacher of the Year who left Somerset County Public Schools to become a Richard F. Hazel Professor of Education at UMES has been appointed by Governor-elect Wes Moore to chair Education Executive Policy for the state.
Richard H. Warren Jr., Ed.D., of Princess Anne, will consult directly with the governor and the policy team to develop and implement policies “that will help build a world class education system for Maryland” from a student’s start of school through to the college level.
The policy team will first advise the Moore-Miller administration during the transition to ensure it “is ready to hit the ground running on day one.” Governor-elect Moore and Lt. Governor-Elect Aruna Miller will be inaugurated on Jan. 18 to succeed Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.
The policy committee’s process will be inclusive of all educational stakeholders from educational experts to parents and community leaders with advice received as well from the Maryland State Department of Education and the state superintendent.
Co-chairs are Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes, the first female president of Prince George’s Community College and a former president of the Maryland State Board of Education, and Dr. Jennifer M. Lynch, director of educational partnerships at the Office of the Baltimore County Executive. She is also a member of the Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board.
Dr. Warren has experienced all facets of education, from his time as a student in tough New Jersey schools, as a secondary school teacher and now teaching at the college level.
Growing up in New Jersey, his best friend at age 13 was shot and killed by a stray bullet while he was playing video games in his apartment. Before graduating from Salem High School in 2007 his parents were divorcing, and he had changed schools six times in two years.
He took his frustrations out on his teachers and was an unruly and disrespectful student. However, when he was 15, “Miss Heidi,” Heidi Sakewicz Bower, recognized his potential and her influence turned him around.
He completed all three of his degrees at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and when teaching eighth grade STEM at Crisfield Academy he was named the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2018, being selected Somerset County Teacher of the Year a few months later, then becoming Maryland’s top teacher honoree for 2019.
In January 2020 he signed on to work for his alma mater in the Department of Education as a Hazel Professor of Education.
Dr. Warren wrote that his appointment to advise the Moore-Miller administration “is a historic transition in many ways” and that he may be the youngest African-American male to assume this role in the state. He added this is “A heart-filled accomplishment for Crisfield, Somerset County, UMES and the Eastern Shore community!”
Policy plans outlined by the Moore-Miller for Maryland campaign are online at https://wesmoore.com/issues/education.