I have completed my first week as Commissioner of Education in Kentucky. It was very much a whirlwind week with the state Board of Education meeting, tours of the Kentucky Department of Education, meetings with the General Assembly Interim Education Committee, meetings with the steering committee for Senate Bill 1 and numerous visits and phone calls.
What I have found is a very dedicated and professional staff at the Department of Education. As with most agencies, there are a number of vacancies that we are not able to fill due to state budget cuts, which reflect the declining revenue picture from state sources. While our numbers have dwindled, we remain committed to providing top-quality service and guidance to our local school districts. I have asked staff to commit to providing responses to calls for service within 24 hours and to strive for accuracy and professionalism in the responses.
It is my intent to be out in the state a great deal. I also will strive to communicate through numerous sources. Interested parties can follow my daily highlights through Twitter (kycommissioner), and through my Facebook account, I will be posting highlights and pictures of school and district visits. We also will maintain the normal channels of communication (i.e., e-mail, letters, meetings, webinars, Web pages).
The early focus of our work is Senate Bill 1 and Race to the Top. These initiatives are very well-aligned and will guide us as we continue to focus on student success. While the next few years will be challenging due to the economic situation, these years also will be very exciting as Kentucky once again assumes a leadership role in education reform for the nation.
Please let me know of your concerns and questions through the various communication channels, and let’s work together for the children of Kentucky.