Fulfilling the hopes of many, the Board of Education named Alexa Posny to be the Commissioner of Education. Dr. Posny will replace Bob Corkins, the woefully unqualified commish installed by the previous Board. This undoes the last of the major damage done by the previous Board.
Posny was the deputy to the widely respected Commissioner preceding Corkins. While working for the Department of Education, she took particular responsibilities for special education and NCLB compliance, issues she’s been working on at the federal Department of Education since being passed over for Corkins.
Her experience with Kansas education and her contacts in the federal government are important parts of her selection. Her supporters in the previous round of hiring emphasized that she’d worked hard with federal officials to get Kansas schools leeway in applying NCLB standards. The feds prefer to focus on school systems with serious problems, and at the time, there were no suggestions of systemic complaints in the Kansas education system.
Under Corkins’s “leadership,” the state’s Department of Education hemorrhaged staff and alienated local school disctricts. Board members characterized his reorganization of the department as a major problem to be overcome. Sue Gamble, a moderate member representing Kansas City, Kansas explained, “You have a department that has returned to the mind-set of a compliance agency rather than a service agency. It’s more about filling out reports and making sure people got their paper in on time than in really helping schools meet their goals achievements.”
Posny’s record suggests she knows how to set things right.