Some interim good news
The good news is that the state Board of Education has decided to keep interim education commission Kevin Noland in that post, and he appears willing to stay.
Mr. Noland has the kind of deep knowledge and sensitive touch that comes with years of experience. He also enjoys the confidence of a wide group within the state Department of Education, where he has a long record of fine service.
It was a mistake to hurry the selection of a new commissioner to replace Gene Wilhoit, during a gubernatorial election year. The best candidates do not rush into rooms where it's unclear who is in charge. The commissioner reports to the board, not the governor, but most chief executives pursue an education agenda of their own. Where a governor stands tells a commissioner a lot about where he or she can go.
A board full of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's appointees obviously has not distinguished itself in the matter of replacing Mr. Wilhoit. It was responsible for finding and choosing the best candidate, and that clearly wasn't Barbara Erwin, who got the board's nod but then withdrew, scant days before she was supposed to take over.
It's hard to know whether the board was too stubborn or too enamored with its own insight, but it clearly failed.
However, chairman Keith Travis is right to criticize the search firm it used. The company's national executive director, William Newman, said Ray and Associates "brought them good candidates, and they made a choice."
Clearly Ms. Erwin was not a good candidate. Her career had left a trail of unhappy people behind, and her résumé contained significant errors.
Ray and Associates has been recognized in a national school administrator publication as one of the country's top search firms. It's hard to know whether this says more about the American Association of School Administrators or Ray and Associates' competitors.
This from the Courier-Journal.