We are seizing a once in a generation opportunity to build a world-class education system for all Maryland students. Join us.
Strong Schools Maryland is leading the statewide, grassroots campaign in Maryland to create a world-class education system for every student, especially those who are disproportionately affected by policies because of race, poverty, language, and disability.
The Kirwan Commission adopted bold recommendations for building a world-class education system. Strong Schools Maryland is organizing to turn the recommendations into policy ensuring an education system that provides a world-class experience for all learners. When we are successful, Maryland’s graduates will be world competitive as a result of our investment in early childhood education, high quality and diverse teachers and leaders, college and career readiness pathways, more resources for at-risk students, and governance and accountability.
Strong Schools Maryland recruits individuals and organizations from around the state to form “teams”. Teams meet monthly to learn about the current education landscape in Maryland and to take action using Strong Schools Maryland created materials mailed to the leader. All materials needed to host a meeting are provided by Strong Schools Maryland; team leaders just need to bring the people. Currently, Strong Schools Maryland has all types of teams. They include groups of friends, neighbors, schools, civic organizations, religious institutions and many others. Interested in learning more? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to or click here to find out how you can get involved.
Joe Francaviglia serves as Strong Schools Maryland’s Executive Director, formerly the Director of Partnerships where he was responsible for recruiting and supporting Strong Schools Maryland citizen advocates and organizing teams across the state. Joe is a veteran teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools, obtaining the distinction of Model Teacher. He led several organizing initiatives aimed at ensuring a fair and equitable school system and ensuring teacher voices were represented in the decision-making processes. Recognizing that the Kirwan Commission presents a unique opportunity to build schools where all our children thrive, he moved from the classroom to Strong Schools Maryland. He first began his education career as a Teach For America Corps Member teaching middle school social studies at Bay Brook Elementary/Middle School. Joe has also taught at KIPP Ujima Village Academy. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University and a Certificate of Administration from Johns Hopkins University. Joe can be reached at Joe@strongschoolsmaryland.org.
Linsey Malig-Mayhew is Strong Schools Maryland’s Director of Partnerships. She has served students as a special educator, ESOL instructor and community education leader in five different states (most recently Maryland) since 2005. Throughout her career, she witnessed inadequacies in education systems across the country. In an effort to build more equitable and effective schools on a systemic level, she joined Strong Schools Maryland as Policy and Advocacy Fellow prior to taking on her current role. Linsey received the Community Leader of the Year Award from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network) and acknowledgement at the first White House LGBT History Month Reception for her advocacy work creating safe spaces in schools for LGBTQ+ students. She graduated from American University with a M.A. in Special Education and James Madison University with a B.S. in Cultural Anthropology and Communications.
Dave Heilker is the Communications Director for Strong Schools Maryland. He has served the local education community in Maryland, having worked with Strong Schools Maryland on a freelance basis since our inception, and in Baltimore City as a member of the Baltimoreans for Educational Equity (BEE) leadership team, and has directed messaging and visual assets for a multitude of city and statewide campaigns including the fight to close the digital divide in Baltimore in the wake of COVID-19, and canvassing for Question 1 (the Casino Lockbox Amendment in 2018). Fun fact: Dave built the Strong Schools Maryland website and designed our logo.
Shannen Coleman Siciliano: Shannen has spent her professional career focused on education in Maryland. She provides consulting to schools as well as nonprofits, foundations and communities committed to education. Prior to consulting, Shannen worked with colleagues and school communities to organize and provide after school opportunities for youth with the Child First Authority. She also served as the founding co-chair of the Baltimore Education Coalition, which prevented hundreds of millions of dollars in state cuts for Baltimore City Public Schools and helped secure $1 billion in school construction for City Schools. She began her education career with Teach For America as a second grade teacher, and went on to become a curriculum specialist and instructional support teacher in Baltimore City Schools.
Taylor Stewart serves as a member of Strong Schools Maryland’s Executive Committee. Taylor is the Maryland Director at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). In this role, she is responsible for supporting members to achieve impact individually and collectively in politics, policy, advocacy, and organizing to achieve a more equitable education for all students. Prior to joining LEE, Taylor worked for Teach For America – Baltimore in development and taught 10th grade government at Heritage High School at the Lake Clifton campus. Her civic involvement includes organizing in education for the last 10 years; working on several political campaigns; and serving on the boards of Brown Memorial/Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, Live Baltimore, DC Mizzou Alumni Association, and Strong Schools Maryland. Taylor was born and raised in Kansas City, MO, and found her way to Baltimore in 2007 as a Teach For America corps member. She has a B.A. from the University of Missouri in Political Science, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and a J.D. from the University of Maryland.
David Hornbeck is a founder of Strong Schools Maryland and serves as a member of the organization’s Executive Committee. After serving as Superintendent of Schools in Philadelphia, David began Good Schools Pennsylvania. Using similar statewide strategies as Strong Schools Maryland, Good Schools’ work resulted in more than $3 billion in new funds targeted to low-wealth schools. David has experience in education policy and funding at the local, state and national levels, including as the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and as the chief architect of the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990. Reforms made as a result of that act improved student performance, moving Kentucky from 48th in the nation to 33rd over a generation.