Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Linda A. Shevitz
MSA SC 3520-16428
Inductee, Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, 2013

Biography:

Linda Shevitz is a woman of “exceptional personality” who has “steadfastly worked for decades to improve the lives" of next generations via endeavoring to increase “educational equality,” expand knowledge about women’s history, and reduce prejudice in Maryland schools.1 Consequentially, there are very few residents of Maryland today that have not benefited from her efforts in some manner.

Ms. Shevitz was born to Harry Pollack, a Director of Personnel for the Securities and Exchange Commission,2 and Dorothy Pollack, a vice president at the Columbia School of Theatrical Arts in Columbia, Maryland.3 She grew up with one brother, Michael Pollack, and married her husband, Stephen Shevitz, at the Indian Spring Country Club on August 22, 1965. Together they have one daughter.4 Ms. Shevitz  attended the University of Maryland College Park where she earned a Master’s Degree in Human Development Education and a post masters Certificate in Human Relations.5 

Ms. Shevitz began her career in education as an elementary school teacher. She then returned to the University of Maryland College Park to teach university level students.6 She started to gain recognition as a champion of educational equality when she moved from teaching to working at the Maryland State Department of Education as their Educational Equity Specialist. In this position, she “sought determinedly to promote equal educational opportunities for all, irrespective of gender, race, national origin, or any type of disability.”7

Ms. Shevitz made great strides at the Maryland State Department of Education: one of her earliest and most prominent accomplishments being monitoring the implementation of Title IX in the Maryland school systems.8 Title IX states that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits or, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal assistance” 9 Ms. Shevitz not only helped the initial implementation of Title IX in Maryland, but also spearheaded training initiatives to ensure its success. To date, Ms. Shevitz is the longest continuously serving state Title IX Specialist in the United States.10

In addition to her full time career, Ms. Shevitz worked with numerous organizations dedicated to equality and prejudice reduction. She served as a chair on the Maryland Coalition Opposed to Violence and Extremism (C.O.V.E.), was a member of  the Maryland Task Force on Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance Education, served on the Governor’s Council on Girls, and chaired the Maryland Consortium on Human Relationships in Education, to name a few.11 Ms. Shevitz was the President of the National Council for Sex Equity in Education (NCSEE), which is now called the Association for Gender Equity and Leadership in Education (AGELE), and chaired the State Educational Task Force of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).12 Furthermore, Ms. Shevitz aided exceptional projects such as the development of the Holocaust Museum’s permanent exhibit “Daniel’s Story” and the creation of the original exhibition context for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, located in Baltimore, Maryland..13 Ms. Shevitz continues such endeavors as she presently serves as the Director of the Maryland State Department Equity Assurance and as the Compliance Officer and the Coordinator for the Education Multicultural Network in Maryland.14

While Ms. Shevitz has worked diligently to create educational equality for all, she has made particularly impressive strides in increasing knowledge about women’s history in the Maryland education system. One of her most prominent efforts was helping to establish the Maryland Women’s History Project, of which she has “played a leading role ever since 1982.”15 This project, founded in 1980, was “a joint venture of the Maryland Commission for Women and the Maryland State Department of Education.”16 Every year it created “an educational kit about Maryland Women’s History and contributions…each focusing on a different area of women’s accomplishments.”17 Such kits were “distributed to every school and library in the State.”18

In addition to significantly increasing knowledge about women’s history in the Maryland schools, the Maryland Women’s History Project lead to the development of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center and Museum (MWHC) in 2010, which was the first of its kind in the nation.19 Ms. Shevitz was not only a founding member of the Center, but she served and continues to serve on its Board of Directors and its Program Committee, of which she is the Chair.20 This institution has had a major impact on women’s history and to this day, if one drives down Charles Street in Baltimore, Maryland, one will see its building with the words “adding herstory to history to tell ourstory” eloquently written on the windows.21 From its establishment, the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center has also been the home of the inspirational Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.22  

Ms. Shevitz continues to actively participate in the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center and Museum. One of her most recent projects being the development of a 2011 exhibit pertaining to women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Many women were featured in this exhibit, including several from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland.23

As a testament to her success, Ms. Shevitz has received numerous awards such as the Shirley McCune Award for “Outstanding National Contributions to Gender Equality,” the “Outstanding Women’s Rights Activist Award, and the “Women’s Rights Award." Ms. Shevitz was additionally recognized as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2004 by the Daily Record.24 Her most recent honors include being profiled in Women of Achievement in Maryland History,” and being inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013.25

Ms. Shevitz has unselfishly worked to increase equality in the Maryland school system, and as a result “her leadership and dedication for several decades has made a significant difference throughout the state, one that in unparalleled in any other state.”26 She is an inspirational figure that “has turned an ocean…today we stand on her shoulders for the work that she has done.”27 Hopefully the next generation of educational activists will continue to stand on her shoulders and further work towards an ever-improving Maryland school system.

Quotes:

“Title IX has opened dozens of colleges to women, increased participation of both males and females in nontraditional trade and job-training programs and helped pregnant teens who previously would have dropped out of high school to graduate. More females now are enrolled in math and science courses, and schools have developed policies and procedures to prevent and address sexual harassment. Title IX not only opened doors for athletes but paved the way for today's women doctors, lawyers, auto mechanics, pilots, military officers, firefighters, business owners, journalists, engineers, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet members and university presidents.”  
-Linda Shevitz28

"I have been impressed, amazed and moved by the diversity of women who have done incredible things and also by how little recognition many of them have gotten."
-Linda Shevit29

“[Linda] is the ultimate of the unsung heroine, who slowly, methodically, courageously, has taken the helm not for recognition but for what is right, never herself seeking attention or the kudos of progressive idea, just doing the work needed, touching souls, younger and older, one at a time.”
-Susan Shaffer30

“Without question, Linda Shevitz belongs with this esteemed group of Maryland women. Linda’s work and life is that of a pioneer who has tirelessly worked for justice and human rights."
-Mary Murphy MacGregor31


Endnotes

1. Susan
Shaffer, Letter to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, 2012 return to text 

2. "Ex-SEC Official Harry Pollack Dies at 76," The Washington Post, April 16, 1991  return to text

3. “Obituary 2—No Title,” The Washington Post, February 8, 1989  return to text

4.“Marriage Announcement 9—No Title,” The Washington Post, October 24, 1965   return to text

5. Shaffer, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame return to text 

6. Ibid.  return to text

7. Dr. Claire L. Parkinson, Letter to Ms. Patricia Cornish, October 25, 2012  return to text 

8. Shaffer, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame  return to text 

9.“Programs, Title IX,” Maryland State Department of Education, last modified 2003, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/  return to text 

10. Shaffer, letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame return to text 

11. Ibid. return to text  

12. Ibid. return to text 

13. Ibid.  return to text 

14. Shaffer, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame  return to text 

15. Dr. Parkinson, Letter to Ms. Patricia Cornish   return to text 

16. “Maryland Women’s History Project,” National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, accessed June 17, 2013, http://www.ncwhs.org/index.php/members/organizations/121-maryland/130-maryland  return to text 

17. Ibid. return to text 

18. Ibid.  return to text 

19. Shaffer, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame  return to text 

20. Ibid.  return to text 

21. “About Us,” Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, last modified 2009, http://www.mdwomensheritagecenter.org/about-us  return to text 

22. “Maryland Women’s History Project”  return to text 

23. Dr. Parkinson, Letter to Ms. Patricia Cornish  return to text 

24. Shaffer, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame  return to text 

25. Carolyn B. Stegman, Letter to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, October 25, 2012  return to text 

26. Shaffer, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame  return to text 

27. Claudia Morrell, Letter to Ms. Patricia Cornish, October 29, 2012  return to text 

28. Linda Shevitz, “The Other Results of Title IX,” The Washington Post, May 16, 1997

29. Mary Corey, “Linda Shevitz Develops Study Plans About WomenHistory,” The Baltimore Sun, March 15, 1992 http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-03-15/features/1992075185_1_women-history-sense-women-diversity-of-women  return to text 

30. Shaffer, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame  return to text 

31. Molly Murphy MacGregor, Letter to Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, October 15, 2012  return to text 

Biography written by 2013 summer intern Rachel Alexander.


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