Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kevin Noland Retiring as legal counsel to the Kentucky Board of Education

In Education Commissioner Jon Draud's Weekly Update, for the week of June 23, 2008 was this little item under "jobs posted"

  • KBE-KDE Deputy Commissioner

When I first saw it I thought...Elaine?! Huh? So soon? What does that mean?

What I didn't realize, was that in addition to serving as the Kentucky Board of Education's attorney, Kevin Noland does double-duty as a Deputy Commissioner...and he is indeed retiring.

When one is "in the field," one gains certain understandings about the larger bureaucracy: which departments can't help you...and which departments represent the best and most reliable service. In my experience, Kevin Noland's department, including Anne Keating and others, had consistently produced trustworthy counsel. I always found them to be terrific; responsive, accurate, and pleasant to work with.

Noland's departure will leave a large void in "education law" and "institutional knowledge" for Commissioner Draud to fill. If he hasn't been KDE's spiritual leader as well, I'd be surprised.

KDE spokeswoman Lisa Gross says they don't plan a public announcement.

They should reconsider.

An author of House Bill 940 (The Kentucky Education Reform Act) there has been no one more knowledgeable about the the law's intent as expressed in legislation; and no steadier hand than Noland. Through the Kentucky Board of Education's various travails Noland provided cool counsel. He read the law. He understood the law. He followed the law.

Since 1991 when Noland first joined the Kentucky Department of Education, he has served as legal counsel, associate commissioner and deputy commissioner.

But his real value came as three-time interim education commissioner: once after Thomas Boysen (1995)...most recently spanning the gap between Gene Wilhoit and Barbara Erwin - and again Between Erwin and Draud.

Gross says, "He will be sorely missed -- his legal expertise and vast knowledge have been invaluable to the agency."

I know she's right.

No comments: