Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Two candidates confirm they will not be the next Kentucky Education Commissioner

And as an added bonus, "Barbara Erwin" is back In the News 


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kentucky Board of Education Reassesses

Wherein, KBE Chair Keith Travis delivers the quotes I'd been waiting for

The Kentucky Board of Education voted 9-0 last night to accept the resignation of Barbara Erwin.

After a 2 1/2 hour closed session, they decided to start an immediate search for an interim education commissioner. Kevin Noland, the head of legal services for KDE, has his other full-time job he wants to get back to.

Board chair Keith Travis told the Herald-Leader that he hopes to have a person in place within two weeks.

Travis also said the board was not under pressure to find a permanent replacement and stressed that board members want a Kentucky educator to apply.

If the overall quality of the field produced by the recent national search was as shallow as it seems, one can understand the board's reluctance. And of course, once burned; twice shy. Board members now say they won't use Ray & Associates, which cost Kentucky $50,000, and aren't sure whether they will use a search firm at all.

Travis had been quoted saying he wouldn't call Erwin's hiring a mistake, but yesterday changed his tune when he said that he did not think Erwin was the best person for the job. He told the Courier-Journal that the board tried to give Erwin the benefit of the doubt.

Travis said that he started to question whether Erwin was right for the job after talking with her about the investigation. "We relied heavily on a search firm to provide us information, and probably relied on them too much."

Travis said neither he nor the board encouraged Erwin to resign but that he did have a conversation with her early Friday morning, questioning her about all of the distractions. "The board was having serious concerns about her ability to provide leadership with all of these other issues going on in her life," he said. "At some point, all of these items become cumulative and certainly the one on Wednesday (the missing personnel file) was the icing on the cake."

This from WDRB (Sept 1, 2015):
Two candidates -- including the lone Kentuckian, as well as the only female -- confirmed to WDRB News on Tuesday that they are not two of the remaining finalists for Kentucky Education Commissioner.
Kentucky Education Commissioner finalists from top left: Kathleen Airhart, Christopher Koch, Buddy Berry; and bottom left, Lloyd Martin and Stephen Pruitt (Photos via Kentucky Board of Education)

Buddy Berry, superintendent of Eminence Independent Schools in Eminence, Ky., says being named one of the five candidates in the search for a new Kentucky Education Commissioner was "one of the most humbling honors of my life."

"There are many Kentuckians that I feel could lead this charge, so to be selected to represent our state in this process was a real blessing," Berry said. "I believe being a finalist has been a testament to all the hard work of our students and staff at Eminence and of our focus on creating the future of what schools can be."

Kathleen Airhart, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Tennessee Department of Education, also confirmed she is not among the finalists.

"It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to meet with the Kentucky board," Airhart said. "I was a 'nominated' candidate and had not sought out the position independently. I greatly appreciated their consideration and their time.  I found it to be a very thorough interview process and I was honored to be a small part of it."

The Kentucky Board of Education interviewed five candidates Friday and Saturday in closed session in Lexington. In open session, the board indicated it wants in-depth background checks done on two of the candidates, but would not name which ones.

Aside from Berry and Airhart, the other three candidates include: Christopher Koch, interim president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in Washington, D.C.; Lloyd Martin, chief executive officer for Universal School Solutions, LLC, in Jacksonville, Fla.; and Stephen Pruitt, senior vice president at Achieve, Inc., an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization in Washington, D.C.

Roger Marcum, chairman of the Kentucky Board of Education, told WDRB News on Monday the state has no objection if the five named candidates "self-disclose" whether they’ve made it to final vetting.

Koch, Pruitt and Martin have not indicated if they are among the two finalists.
And now, a Moment of Zen...

The board will spend between $10,000 to $12,000 to conduct "extensive background searches" on the two final candidates to prevent any information that may be "embarrassing or disparaging to the state" from being released, Marcum said.

Marcum said the background checks are to avoid repeating the controversy involving Barbara Erwin, the woman who was named education commissioner in 2007, only to resign from the job before her first day after media outlets across the state questioned the integrity of her resume, as well as other concerns.

"We don’t want what happened with Dr. Erwin to happen again," said Marcum, who noted that none of the current board members were on the board that appointed Erwin commissioner. "We are taking this responsibility to properly vet the candidates very seriously."

Terry Holliday was named education commissioner in 2009 and was in charge of overseeing the education of 675,000 students in Kentucky's public schools. His last official day on the job was Monday, Aug. 31.

The state board has appointed Associate Commissioner and General Counsel Kevin Brown to serve as interim commissioner starting Tuesday, Sept. 1, until a new commissioner is installed.

Berry said he feels Kentucky "stands poised for unprecedented educational achievements."

"While I’m disappointed to not be chosen, Kentucky is, and always will be, my home and I can’t thank the Kentucky Board of Education enough for allowing me to be a part of the conversation for its future," he said.

Marcum said he will call a special meeting of the state board once the background checks are complete in two or three weeks.

No comments: