Katharine Oliver


Katharine (Kathy) Oliver began collaborating with ESG in 2016. Mrs. Oliver previously served as the Assistant State Superintendent for Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education for 25 of her 45-year career in education and workforce development. During her tenure, Maryland revamped Vocational-Technical Education into a 21st century system of Career and Technology Education, the New CTE, in which secondary students prepare for careers and postsecondary studies earning early college credit and industry certifications along with their high school diplomas.

She led the work to establish Maryland’s system of career clusters/career pathways aligned to the State’s economic and workforce needs. The system included over 40 CTE State Programs of Study; a P-20 Career Development Framework; and, MD’s Skills for Success, five overarching skills every student needs to be successful in the workplace. As a member of the Department’s Executive Team, she was actively engaged in the development of K-12 education policies, especially at the secondary level.

She has worked extensively with Maryland’s business community. As a member of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board Subcabinet, Kathy helped design the State’s targeted industry sector initiative to promote effective education/workforce partnerships with employers. She has served on the Maryland Governor’s P-20 Council, the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council, MD’s Manufacturing Commission and was a founding board member of the MD Center for Construction Education and Initiatives, the Regional Manufacturing Institute, and the MD Agricultural Education Foundation. She is also a past president of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education, now known as Advance CTE and a past chair of SREB’s High Schools That Work Board of Directors. She is a current member of the PDK International Board of Directors.

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Notre Dame University of Maryland and a Master’s in Administration and Management from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.

Why are you in this work?

I believe that all students should have high-quality opportunities and options to succeed beyond high school, and have spent a lifetime trying to bring that vision to reality. I’ve spent the last 25 years devoted to transforming Vocational-Technical Education into 21st Century Career Technical Education for Maryland students, and my passion for systems change to ensure every high school student graduates ready for success in career and postsecondary education remains undiminished.

Why ESG?

My successes were always a product of effective sector partnerships, thoughtful policy development, and shared accountability for outcomes.  It is exciting to be a part of the ESG team where this approach is fully embraced.