Then came an online comment from someone screen-named "nowisright."
"Credibility comes into question when the claim that "she was a two-time superintendent of the year in Texas in the 1990s" appears to be misleading at best, and a flat out lie at worst. If you look at the Texas Association of School Boards, she is on the list once, not twice. Also notable, this is NOT the first time she has made this claim."
The KDE press release and numerous news reports repeat the claim that "She was named Texas Superintendent of the year in 1997 and 1998. " This sounds like she won the same award twice, but she didn't. Is this a case of shaky news reporting, or shifty candidate spin?
The TASB list verifies Erwin's 1997 selection, as does the Dallas Morning News, 8 Oct 1997.
In 1998, the winner was Gerald Anderson from Brazosport, whom I met when he visited with Fayette County school administrators around that time.
On 12 January 2000, the Dallas Morning News wrote, "Dr. Erwin was named 1997 Texas Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards. The Texas Association of School Administrators selected Dr. Erwin as the Texas nominee for the 1999 National Superintendent of the Year." The 6 February 2000 Arizona Republic verifies the nomination as well.
The winner of that award was Gerry House from Memphis Tenn.
But I still haven't been able to independently verify either a 1998 or 1999 award. The TASA website (tasanet.org) has been down. Here's the AASA's list of past winners.
I have written to the AASA and KDE for more information. In the meantime, I welcome information from any readers who can help verify (or refute) the second award claim.
What are your thoughts about the identification of Barbara Erwin as the leading candidate for Kentucky Commissioner of Education? Let 'em know here.