In Maryland, tenure is granted to teachers who successfully complete a probationary period of three years with the same school system.

During the probationary period, a teacher’s contract may be non-renewed for any reason—or no reason—if notice is provided by May 1 of any of the first three years. If a probationary teacher would like to resign, notice must also be given by May 1 of any year.

Tenure and Due Process

When a teacher achieves tenure, they are guaranteed “due process” protections, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be dismissed. Due process is the minimum procedural requirements that a school district must satisfy when dismissing a tenured teacher.

At a due process hearing, a superintendent must prove the charges against the teacher, and the teacher has an opportunity to present and cross-examine witnesses in response. For those who are MSEA members, an MSEA attorney who is an expert in education and labor law provides representation during all events giving rise to the charge(s). If an incident occurs that you feel may require such advocacy and/or representation, your first step is always to contact your school association representative and your MSEA UniServ representative.

Tenure Portablility

The 2010 Education Reform Act, which changed the probationary period for tenure from two to three years, also made tenure portable from one Maryland county to another. Now tenured teachers can carry their established tenure with them between counties if they have a satisfactory performance evaluation and there is a break in service of no more than one year. Then, so long as the teacher meets the new district’s performance standards at the end of the first year, tenure may be granted in the new county.

Questions? Contact your MSEA UniServ Director or MSEA’s Center for Legal Affairs. For more information, visit