March is Women’s History Month: Jan Gardner, Frederick’s first county executive


courtesy of Jan Gardner

Gardner participates in the official opening of ROOT, the new innovation center of Frederick County.

by Ashley Martin , Reporter

Frederick County has many important and historic women: Barbara Fritchie, Clare McCardell, Elizabeth Ann Seton.   A modern example of woman leadership is  first County Executive Jan H. Gardner. 

Jan H. Gardner was born in Pennsylvania and went on to the University of Notre Dame to earn her Bachelor degree in business administration  and later on she went to Xavier University to earn a Master in business.

After earning her degrees she became involved in her local government as a community citizen advocating solutions for conflicts around Frederick County. She eventually earned the position of County Commission and held that position for 12 years.   

In 2006 she started encouraging solutions to issues in Frederick County. For example she took over issues like rapid residential growth and its impact on the schools, roads, and public services. After solving these issues she decided to run for a newly created position, County Executive. Still in the position today, Jan Gardner has created leadership teams and community opportunities throughout the county.

Gardner gives advice to young women.  “My advice is to seize your power!  Young women have the power to make a difference, create change, and accomplish what whatever they set out to do.  Seize your power! Get it done.”

In February, Gardner announced her campaign for re-election.

Gardner and her team have gained success throughout her term as County Executive. Gardner and her team have increased education, community, agriculture, and economic growth. 


  • Built new schools
  • Increased funding to support teachers and staff 


  • Maintained safe community
  • Saved Citizens and Montevue to continue to keep our promise to our seniors by providing subsidized assisted living care as well as nursing home care
  •  Restored our partnership with our human service non-profit agencies to better take care of people and help all people be successful


  • Preserved over 61,000 acres of agriculture land for future generations


  • Net increase 5,500 new jobs over the past years

Gardner said, “I would thank my mother who instilled the value of hard work and the importance of community service.   My mother remains a community activist at the age of 88 advocating for education and public libraries.  My mother believes in me and instilled a confidence to step out and do what needed to be done.  My mother has always said that you don’t need to look for someone to help, they are all around you.  Make a difference in all you do.”