Pruitt excited by Kentuckians’ commitment to education,
pledges daily focus on making a difference in the lives of children
This from KSBA:
The Kentucky Board of Education unanimously ratified a contract Tuesday morning making Dr. Stephen Pruitt the state’s chief administrator for elementary and secondary education. The action came during the state board’s October meeting.
“I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to be a Kentuckian," said Pruitt, a former teacher and state agency official in Georgia, and most recently an executive with a Washington, D.C. education standards organization. "I really want to create what we call in Washington Kentucky fatigue. I want everybody on the planet talking about what’s going on in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
"You’ll hear me talk about shareholders, not stakeholders. The technical definition of a stakeholder is the person who holds the stake and has the chance to get hammered if the guy swings wrong. I’d rather have shareholders that are invested, that care, that are working together to make a better place," he said.
Under the four-year contract, Pruitt will be paid $240,000 a year, plus benefits. He will be on the job on Friday, Oct. 16, which is the start of the next standard pay period for Kentucky state workers.
Thursday evening, Pruitt , his wife, Cecilia, and daughter, Abby, attended a reception of education leaders sponsored by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence at the offices of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
“I can’t begin to say how excited I am,” he said. “I’ve never applied to be a commissioner. In fact, on the Saturday of the last interview, my wife and I were driving away, and she said, ‘This wasn’t really in the plan, was it?’ And I said, ‘No , it really wasn’t.’ I’m eager for the opportunity to work in a state that has shown such commitment and dedication to its kids – because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Pruitt pledged that focus will continue once he’s on the job.
“At KDE, we’re always going to start the day thinking about how we’re going to make a difference in the life of a child. I will have the face of a child in front of me every time we have to make a big decision,” he said.
With many education agency representatives and education co-op executives in the audience, Pruitt outlined a “collaborative” leadership style.
“I don’t have a problem having to use the power of the office, but I would much rather pull with you than being the one out front,” he said. “We’re going to do this together, because if we don’t, we’re going to spend four years spinning our wheels. I don’t have a whole lot of patience. When I want things to go, I want them to go, but I want them to go together.”
Pruitt said his wife and daughter will move to Kentucky after the fall semester of school in Bethesda, Md. Where they will call home isn’t set yet, but Pruitt said his daughter will be enrolled in the spring semester in a Kentucky public high school. The Pruitts also have a son who is in college at the University of Colorado.