Baltimore County Leader Insight: Dr. Darryl Williams

Leader Insight - Darryl Williams, EdD, Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools

A Special Interview: April 2022

What do you consider to be the most important education issue facing Baltimore County and how are you working to address it?

The most important issue today is addressing the impact of learning loss brought on by the pandemic. In order to accelerate learning, we must first address the social emotional needs of students and staff. We have developed a year-long professional learning plan for all members of Team BCPS that in part focuses on social emotional learning, learning acceleration and increased data literacy. By equipping educators with these tools, we anticipate that they will be able to meet the needs of students and provide supports to improve outcomes.


What is the most challenging part of working towards equitable education?

Ensuring that everyone understands the definition of educational equity and changing behaviors to ensure that outcomes are not predictable by race, service group or socioeconomic status. Creating processes and procedures to consistently monitor and evaluate our practices to prevent unintended impacts on students is very challenging.


How are you inspiring the next generation of educators?

I believe the next generation of educators must reflect the diversity that exists within the system to help students see themselves as leaders. The next generation of educators must love the profession and be able to work with all students regardless of race, service group, gender or socioeconomic status. I focus on nurturing students who are our future leaders in all of the classrooms that I visit. I spend time speaking with staff and students and providing them with opportunities to consider their potential impact and discuss the rewards of a career in education.


What life experience has most shaped who you are as a leader?

My experiences as a student and parent have shaped me as a leader. As a student, having that cool, great teacher – Mr. Leroy Swain and principal who did everything well for the school community, shaped and inspired my vision of success. When I became a father, I immediately understood that parents wanted the best for their kids and what was needed from the school system.


In your opinion, what personal trait is most important to being a good leader and why?

Interpersonal skills. This job is a “people” profession, and you must like people in order to interact, relate and connect in service and support of students.

Baltimore County Leader Insight: Cathy Grason

Baltimore County Leader Insight: Cathy Grason, Director of Government Affairs, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

A Special Interview: March 2022

What do you consider to be the most important issue facing Baltimore County and how are you working to address it?

CareFirst is a nonprofit organization driven by our mission of making healthcare affordable and accessible to our members and the communities that we serve, including Baltimore County. Integral to our mission is support for organizations and programs that help people who lack adequate access to healthcare or cannot meet basic living needs.

From 2017-2021, CareFirst provided more than $1.8 million in grants and sponsorships to support core programming addressing access to care, behavioral health services, and more. Recent grant investments serving Baltimore County include:

  • Family Crisis of Baltimore County: $10,000 in 2018 to support enrichment and nutrition programming for families exposed to Intimate Partner Violence.
  • Community College of Baltimore County Foundation: $89,808 in 2019 to support simulation education for nursing education and other allied health services.
  • Baltimore County of Chamber of Commerce: $5,000 in 2021 to support core programming and services for the business community of Baltimore County.
  • Baltimore County Health Department: $50,000 in 2021 to enhance upstream, community-driven interventions through authentic partnership and engagement with communities to address diabetes.

In addition to providing financial support, CareFirst associates are actively involved volunteering in the communities in which they live and work. In 2021, CareFirst associates donated 1,199.31 hours to charitable organizations directly serving or headquartered in Baltimore County. Personally, I helped to organize a training this year co-sponsored by CareFirst, the Pro-Bono Resource Center, and the Homeless Persons Representation Project to learn how Maryland attorneys can assist pro bono clients in our region in the expungement of criminal records that hinder their ability to access basic needs and professional opportunities.

I am grateful to work with colleagues that are both personally and professionally committed to improving our communities, and for an organization that empowers us to do so.


What do you want people to know about challenges for health care insurance providers?

CareFirst believes that healthcare needs transformation. Costs are too high and quality lags. Access and outcomes vary widely based on factors like race and income. There are provider workforce shortages in a number of critical care areas, such as behavioral health.

To create a better healthcare experience, we must transform it. This is our call to action. To this end, CareFirst is engaged in a number of workstreams to enhance care to support people’s complete health and well-being-physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are creating innovative solutions that drive better health outcomes through partnerships, data, and technology and we are collaborating with policymakers to remove barriers and create incentives to place care at the forefront. We are championing the right to access affordable, quality care and improving health equity for all we serve, and we are investing in community programs that support these critical endeavors.
There is much work to be done, but CareFirst is committed to driving these critical changes in our region.


How are you inspiring the next generation of public service leaders?

I have been fortunate throughout my career to work for and with smart and innovative leaders in insurance, public policy, and government affairs, who luckily for me, have been willing to share their experiences and advise on my professional growth. I strive to pay this kindness forward and to invest energy in “the next generation” as they develop and progress in their own professional pursuits. To those who much has been given, much is expected.


What life experience has most shaped who you are as a leader?

Waitressing. I gave that answer when I applied for my first law clerkship in the summer of 2009, and it remains true today. I spent a good bit of time in the food service industry waitressing and bartending to earn extra income as I pursued my education and early in my career. The lessons I learned during that time about humility, hustle and grit, time-management, and maintaining composure and customer service with all types of people in a high volume, fast paced environment, are things that I apply every day as a leader. I hope that each of my four daughters will do a stint in the service industry as part of their professional development — it keeps you humble, reminds you that we’re all human, and gives you unique perspective on how to deal with challenges as you juggle tasks and manage people.


In your opinion, what personal trait is most important to being a good leader and why?

Humility. Good leaders consider themselves to be part of the team, not just the team captain. They are not “above” any tasks necessary to move the mission forward, no matter how elementary or tedious. They take ownership of wins and losses of the people that support them, give credit to others generously and often, and are not afraid to ask themselves or others how they can do better. Good leaders do not think that they “know everything” — to the contrary, they are constantly striving to learn new things and refine old ideas, informed by diverse opinions, including those contrary to their own. Strong leaders know how to meet all personalities where they are and respect everyone they encounter, including and especially adversaries. It is in these traits that leaders earn the respect and loyalty of a diverse array of teammates and colleagues, internal and external to their organization.

LBC RFP for Business Process and Database Project

LBC is seeking proposals for conducting an analysis of its business processes and database and implementing changes to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Click the link below for details.

Leadership Baltimore County Business Process and Database Project Proposal


Question and Answer Available as of 11/22/21:

1. The timeline shows decision notification to take place on 1/26 – when does LBC anticipate kick-off of the project after decision notification?
Ideally, the start date will be mid to late February. The date can be adjusted by 3-5 weeks depending on the availability of the selected vendor.
2. Is there a target finish date, deadline(s), and/or dependencies related to project completion?
LBC anticipates that this project will take about 4-6 months to complete. LBC staff tends to be less available mid-May through early June, thus that period may be a bit slower. LBC does not have a specific timeline or milestones created at this point.
3. Is a formal SOP Manual (Standard Operating Procedure) a deliverable, or is the expectation for more simplified reference resources to accompany onboarding?
LBC is looking for easy-to-use references to guide staff in the usage of the reports, dashboards, and systems created.
4. The reports found in Appendix A were not explicitly listed as a Deliverable or Known Database Need (though found in Project Goals).  For our clarity, are these part of the scope for this engagement, or provided as part of a roadmap for a future initiative?  If current scope, do you envision their creation in more of a Dashboard or Report format (or could that vary from report to report)?
LBC does want the reports listed to be created as part of the deliverables. We would like both a dashboard and reports.
5. Who is the primary point of contact throughout the duration?
Mary Kay Page will be the primary point of contact throughout the project.
6. We want to make sure you realize the value of this important project.  Are you able/comfortable sharing the budget or target investment for you to realize that value?
LBC cannot share the budget for this project. 

The Leadership Circle Profile


There are many unique components to the LBC experience that you cannot replicate elsewhere. One of these valuable assets is the Leadership Circle Profile 360 assessment. We are the only leadership program in the area that offers this particular tool.  The Leadership Circle Profile (TLCP) is a true breakthrough among 360 degree assessments. It is the first to connect individual competencies with the deep motivations and underlying habits of thought. It reveals the relationship between patterns of action and the internal assumptions that drive behavior. Ultimately, TLCP gives you the whole picture, going to the source of behavior to get greater leverage on change.

TLCP displays results within a high impact framework (the “circle”), not merely in the rank order scores found in most 360 degree assessments. This framework shows leaders both how they are doing and spotlights the hidden motivators that drive successful and unsuccessful behavior.

The LBC Class of 2019 will be the fifth class that employs the TLCP.  Year after year we evaluate other assessments and each time we come back to the same conclusion, based on research and class feedback: The Leadership Circle Profile 360 sets the bar high and is extremely insightful. So we continue to offer it because it is so valuable.

To learn more about The Leadership Circle Profile, click HERE.