Talk Early and Often is Key Takeaway at #MACoCon for Successful Public Education Relationships

At the 2023 MACo Winter Conference, attendees explored best practices for successful and diverse relationships in public education. 

Counties are key figures in the funding and operations of Maryland schools, working closely with local and state partners to provide quality education. Managing these relationships and sometimes competing priorities with the multitude of stakeholders in education can be overwhelming.

At the MACo Winter Conference session, “Public Education 101: Key Partners for Success,” attendees learned who the major stakeholders are and best practices to successfully collaborate with them, and speakers explored the role of local government in supporting public education, especially as the state embarks on the implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. 

A strong theme throughout the session was the importance of early and often communication between the various stakeholders in public education — especially county governments (the funders) and implementers (local boards of education, superintendents, and the state). Transparency of said communications was also repeatedly emphasized by panelists.

Driving these best practices home, Queen Anne’s County Superintendent said that “you can work through any budget challenges with the right partners and collaboration.”

Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) Chair Ike Leggett agreed that county governments were critical partners for the Blueprint to be successful. He also described statewide data to demonstrate the challenges facing partners in education as they begin to implement the Blueprint, including obstacles in early childhood education readiness, access to technology and broadband, and learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interagency Commission on School Construction Executive Director Alex Donahue wrapped the session by explaining county government’s role in school construction. He also noted that the IAC plans to partner with county governments and increase transparency around school construction and capital project funding.


  • Ike Leggett, Chair, Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board
  • Cassandra Viscarra, Deputy Director for Administration, Interagency Commission on School Construction
  • Patty Saelens, Superintendent, Queen Anne’s County


  • Rachel Hise, Executive Director, Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board

This session was held on January 6, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland.

More about MACo’s Winter Conference: