One step at a time

State Board selects commissioner search firm

The State Board of Education has selected Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based company, to conduct the search for candidates to be commissioner of education.

The board is searching for a replacement for Commissioner Robert Hammond, who resigned at the end of June (see story). Elliott Asp, a former Hammond advisor and veteran Colorado administrator, is serving as interim commissioner.

Ray and Associates, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, is a national company that specializes in searches for education administrators.

According to the group’s website, it’s currently doing superintendent searches for the Kansas City and Fort Worth districts, plus searches for top administrative positions in the Oklahoma City and Milwaukee schools.

It’s also doing a principal search for Aspen High School. According to information Ray gave the State Board, the firm has done recent searches for various jobs in the Jeffco, Colorado Springs 11, Eagle County, Westminster and Boulder districts.

The firm recently closed searches for superintendents in Albuquerque, Austin and the Brevard and Palm Beach districts in Florida, as well as a search for state superintendent in Michigan.

The State Board voted 6-0 to hire Ray during a special meeting Wednesday.

The board will back to full seven-member strength Saturday after a Republican Party vacancy committee chooses a successor to board chair Marcia Neal of Grand Junction, who resigned earlier this year. Eight candidates are seeking the post. One applicant, Center school board member Michael Lobato, has withdrawn. (Read about Neal’s resignation here, and learn about the people vying to succeed her here.)

The board is scheduled to select a new chair at its regular monthly meeting next Wednesday. Most observers expect Steve Durham, a Colorado Springs Republican who joined the board last January, to be selected.

Also on the board’s agenda are discussion of the commissioner search, of possible data privacy requirements for companies that provide data services to the state and of high school graduation guidelines, which developed into a touchy issue for the board earlier this year.

awarding leaders

Meet the nine finalists for Tennessee Principal of the Year

PHOTO: Shelby County Schools
From left: Docia Generette-Walker receives Tennessee's 2016 principal of the year honor from Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. Generette-Walker leads Middle College High School in Memphis. This year's winner will be announced in October.

Nine school leaders are up for an annual statewide award, including one principal from Memphis.

Tracie Thomas, a principal at White Station Elementary School, represents schools in Shelby County on the state’s list of finalists. Last year, Principal Docia Generette-Walker of Middle College High School in Memphis received the honor.

Building better principals has been a recent focus for Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen as roles of the school leaders change under school improvement efforts.

“Successful schools begin with great leaders, and these nine finalists represent some of the best in our state,” McQueen said. “The Principal of the Year finalists have each proven what is possible when school leaders hold students and educators to high expectations.”

The winner will be announced at the state department’s annual banquet in October, where the winner of Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year will also be announced.

The finalists are:

West Tennessee

  • Tracie Thomas, White Station Elementary, Shelby County Schools
  • Stephanie Coffman, South Haven Elementary, Henderson County School District
  • Linda DeBerry, Dyersburg City Primary School, Dyersburg City Schools

Middle Tennessee

  • Kenneth “Cam” MacLean, Portland West Middle School, Sumner County Schools
  • John Bush, Marshall County High School, Marshall County Schools
  • Donnie Holman, Rickman Elementary School, Overton County Schools

East Tennessee

  • Robin Copp, Ooltewah High School, Hamilton County Schools
  • Jeff Harshbarger, Norris Middle School, Anderson County Schools
  • Carol McGill, Fairmont Elementary School, Johnson City Schools

you better work

Hickenlooper, on national TV, calls for bipartisanship on job training for high school graduates

PHOTO: Nicholas Garcia
Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke to reporters on the eve of the 2017 General Assembly.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Sunday said Republicans and Democrats should work together to rethink how states are preparing high school graduates for the 21st century economy.

“It’s not a Republican or Democratic issue to say we want better jobs for our kids, or we want to make sure they’re trained for the new generation of jobs that are coming or beginning to appear,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, appeared on the Sunday public affairs program alongside Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, to discuss their work on healthcare.

The Colorado governor brought up workforce training after moderator John Dickerson asked what issues besides healthcare both parties should be addressing.

“Two-thirds of our kids are never going to have a four-year college degree, and we really haven’t been able to prepare them to involve them in the economy where the new generations of jobs require some technical capability,” Hickenlooper said. “We need to look at apprenticeships. We need to look at all kinds of internships.”

Hickenlooper has long supported a variety of education reform policies including charter schools and linking student test scores to teacher evaluations. Last fall he backed a new program that is expected to this year connect 250 Colorado high school students with paid job training.

Watch Hickenlooper and Kasich here. Hickenlooper’s remarks on job training begin right before the 11- minute mark.