Embattled former Maryland state schools superintendent gets new job
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Embattled former Maryland state schools superintendent gets new job

Mohammed Choudhury, a struggling former Maryland State Schools superintendent, is starting a new life in a new state.

Choudhury resigned as state superintendent in October after a series of investigations by Fox45 News raised serious questions about transparency and potential violations of state law.

During last month’s school board meeting, the Fort Worth, Texas, Board of Education voted unanimously to confirm Mohammed Choudhury as assistant superintendent of instruction and education for the Fort Worth Independent School District.

“Even though he’s not here today,” Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Angelica Ramsey said at the board meeting, “I’d like to welcome Mohammed Choudhury as deputy superintendent of Fort Worth ISD.”

The vote took place June 25, nearly three years after Choudhury arrived in Maryland to head the state Department of Education.

When Choudhury was hired as Maryland State Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2021, he came from Texas, where he had been an assistant superintendent in San Antonio. But Choudhury’s time in Maryland was short and highly controversial, as a Project Baltimore investigation uncovered a pattern of secrecy and mismanagement at MSDE.

READ ALSO | Maryland Schools Superintendent Dodges Transparency Questions, Locks Himself Behind Doors

Project Baltimore’s investigation into Choudhury began in January 2023, when MSDE removed and then redacted state test scores from its website without informing the public. Then, through a series of public records requests, Fox45 News discovered that Choudhury had been using an additional email account for business purposes and that his state-issued cellphone was set to automatically delete text messages after 30 days. Twelve of the messages were deleted after Fox45 filed a public records request to obtain them, potentially violating state law.

As the investigation continued, Project Baltimore obtained screenshots showing Choudhury using an encrypted messaging app called Signal to communicate with MSDE employees. Signal allows users to enable an automatic message deletion setting. However, when asked about using Signal, Choudhury initially denied it.

READ ALSO | Despite screenshots, Maryland Schools Superintendent denies using encrypted messaging app for official purposes

“Mr. Superintendent, have you ever used Signal Application as part of your job?” Chris Papst of Project Baltimore asked Choudhury during an August 2023 state board meeting.

“I have no comment. As far as my job goes, no,” Choudhury replied.

Choudhury later issued a statement explaining that he had been using the encrypted messaging app to communicate with “family and friends.”

READ ALSO | Maryland State Superintendent Choudhury to Resign, Move to Senior Advisor Role on Board of Education

Days later, he announced he would resign as state superintendent on Oct. 6, 2023, and take a new position as senior adviser to the state school board. Choudhury kept his same salary of $310,000 a year.

Choudhury officially left MSDE on May 2 of this year. During his roughly seven months as senior counsel, taxpayers paid him about $180,000.

Before being hired in Fort Worth, Choudhury applied for and was considered for positions all over the country. He was publicly announced as a finalist for principal positions in Madison, Wisconsin, and Atlanta, Georgia. He also applied for the Albuquerque, New Mexico, public schools superintendent position. Choudhury was not selected for those positions. Now he’s back in Texas.

“We are very excited that he will be returning to the great state of Texas and will work with him as we continue to build and grow our school district,” Ramsey said during the June board meeting. “So congratulations and welcome.”