Young's finger is correctly measuring the pulse. I remember at the height of the Erwin debacle, it was very difficult to find a sitting school administrator (or association representative) who would utter a discouraging word, because they believed they would be working closely with the board's choice and didn't want to spoil the relationship before it started. The same dynamic applies here. KERA gave the board of education the authority to choose.
Wayne Young, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, said Monday that he has heard some expressions of disappointment. "I think it would be fair to say there's some disappointment that the list did not include some folks from within the state," Young said. "That's understandable, and not surprising."
Young said that during the search for commissioner candidates he spoke with the search firm that the state hired to assist in the process. He said he advised the firm that the new commissioner should be "someone who could hit the ground running."
Young said that all of the four finalists "certainly seem to be qualified, and I'm sure they're all fine people."
"What strikes me and people who have contacted is the thought that some of our own folks were equally qualified," he said. "We'll be pleased to work with the new commissioner, whoever it is. But I'd be less than candid if I didn't say some people out there are kind of scratching their heads."
Brothers said Monday that some "very strong Kentucky candidates" were among the applicants for commissioner, and "the board would have been very pleased to have seen some of them among the finalists." The pool of candidates was "very competitive," and making selections was difficult, he said.
"The bottom line is, when you go through a process like this you try to do it fairly and equitably," Brothers said. "When we came to the end of the process, the top candidates weren't from Kentucky."