Commissioner of Education Raymon L. Bynum of Texas has announced that he will retire from his $65,400-a-year job effective Oct. 31.
Mr. Bynum, who has been a vocal critic of some of the state's new education reforms, said his retirement has been planned for some time and is unrelated to recent criticism by Gov. Mark White and Lt. Gov. William Hobby.
"I have enjoyed my years of service as commissioner of education," Mr. Bynum said in a letter that was read by Jon Brumley, chairman of the newly appointed state board of education, following a closed-door meeting in Austin on Oct. 20.
Mr. Brumley said Deputy Commissioner William Kirby will serve as acting commissioner while a search firm looks for a permanent replacement.
Shirley Brice Heath, associate professor of anthropology and linguistics at Stanford University's School of Education and a former elementary-school teacher, has been chosen by the MacArthur Foundation of Chicago to receive $224,000 over a five-year period.
Ms. Heath was one of 25 recipi3ents of the coveted awards, which were established four years ago by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a private philanthropy, to honor creative Americans and free them to pursue their special interests without financial constraints. Since that time, 141 cash prizes have been given away.
Ms. Heath is the author of a number of books, including Ways With Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities and Classrooms, in which she chronicles her 10-year study in the Peidmont Carolinas of language development among black and white children.
More than 100 candidates have applied to replace Donald G. Gill as Illinois's superintendent of public instruction since the job became available in July.
A panel of educators and an ad hoc search committee of the State Board of Education are now reviewing the applications and hope to appoint a new superintendent by January, according to Lugene Finley, public-information specialist for the board.
Mr. Gill's contract ends next July; he will either remain with the board, working in another capacity, until that time, or he will leave with the agreement of board members.
"Dr. Gill has put in about 35 years in education," Mr. Finley said, "and he felt it was time to retire."