When Maryland’s former top education chief Mohammed Choudhury told state officials he was resigning in May, he asked them to keep his exit quiet and declined to say where he was headed.

State board of education officials acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that Choudhury resigned from his senior advisory role effective May 2, stating they chose to honor the embattled education executive’s request to skip the formal public announcement that usually accompanies a state superintendent’s departure.

Choudhury’s muted farewell comes about six months after the board removed him from leading Maryland’s education department amid allegations of a toxic work environment.

The board lacked the authority to terminate his contract and later hired Carey Wright to take over as state superintendent, resulting in an unusual arrangement in which Maryland was simultaneously paying two executive salaries for about six months. Choudhury’s contract with the state would have expired on Sunday had he remained as senior advisor to the board. He was earning $310,000 a year.

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In the six months between his removal as superintendent and his resignation, board President Clarence Crawford and Vice President Joshua Michael said they met regularly with Choudhury. He authored a series of memos analyzing policies and initiatives around the country that could inform the state’s ambitious education reform plan, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. And his research on conditionally certified teachers, of which the state has a significant number, helped identify ways the state can support those teachers while they gain certification.

Choudhury, who was known for his astute education policy analysis, also gave the board advice on how Maryland should measure poverty in its decisions about school funding and how the state’s schools should use AI. “It is something that we are looking forward to digging into,” said Michael.

“I’ve always found conversations with him on public education to be, from my perspective, most enlightening,” Crawford said.

The board members said the policy memos had not been passed on to Wright.

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Choudhury said in an email on Friday that he is “immensely proud of the transformative work I led in Maryland” and is rooting for his successor, the state board and the staff of the department. He said that he launched several programs that helped spread a science-based approach for teaching reading, added more tutoring and funded child care.

“Our work.... led to significant achievements and were designed to have an enduring impact for years to come, accelerating student achievement and setting the Blueprint up for long-term success,” he said, and cited post-pandemic growth in English Language Arts scores as an example.

He also said he had revamped the education department into one that was designed to improve public education, particularly for students from marginalized communities.

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The Maryland State Department of Education said it paid Choudhury $197,232 from the time of his resignation in October to May 2.

Even as Choudhury was advising Maryland’s board of education, he was job hunting in other states. He was named in February as a finalist for superintendent of Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin. His name also appeared on a list of applicants for a superintendent vacancy with Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico.

After Choudhury resigned from his post in Maryland, the Atlanta Board of Education in June named Choudhury as one of three finalists for a superintendent to lead the district. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution later reported the board went with another candidate.

Choudhury came to Maryland at a critical time. The state’s public schools were just coming out of a pandemic, and a landmark new funding law was just taking hold. He was seen as the visionary leader who could help steer the state through the many crucial decisions that would need to be made during the Blueprint implementation.

But under Choudhury, the relationship between his department and the Blueprint’s Accountability and Implementation Board quickly soured. In some cases, their conflicts burst into public view. In addition, he was criticized for poor relations with the school district superintendents and lawmakers.

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Crawford and other board members continued to support Choudhury until he was disrespectful to William “Brit” Kirwan, one of the architects of the Blueprint, in a September meeting, according to sources who attended. The behavior increased concerns by education and political leaders that Choudhury had trouble building collaborative relationships, sources said at the time.

Choudhury has been credited — even by his critics — with delving deeply into academic achievement, including racial gaps. He had an ambitious plan to increase teacher hiring and retention, and encouraged school systems to adopt the science of reading. He will also be remembered for a proposal to revamp the way the state identifies poverty in schools.

This story has been updated to include a response from Choudhury and the amount he was paid by the department.