Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, has been named to chair the Senate Education Committee.

Kerr is a Jefferson County social studies teacher and curriculum specialist who has been in the legislature since he was elected to the House in 2006. He has served on the education committees in both houses.

Kerr and Sens. Mike Johnston of Denver and Nancy Todd of Aurora were the remaining Democrats on the committee after chair Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, announced recently that she was resigning to avoid a recall election connected to her support of gun-control legislature during the 2013 session.

There’d been speculation about whether Johnston, the legislature’s leading advocate of education reform initiatives, would get the post. He and Hudak held differing views on some issues. Kerr and Todd are considered more middle-of-the-road on education reform.

But Johnston and Todd already chair other committees, and making either of them chair of education would have required other shifts among Democrats, who only have an 18-17 majority in the Senate. Johnston will remain vice chair of education.

Senate Majority Leader Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said any of the three “would be an excellent chair.”

In a statement, Kerr said, “We’ve made advances on many educational fronts in recent years, and I will focus as chair on doing my best to make sure our work keeps us on the right track.”

Heath also named Hudak’s appointed successor, Rachael Zenzinger of Arvada, to the committee. She works as program coordinator for Regis University’s master of arts in education program and has been an Arvada City Council member.