Evansville educator picked as Indiana education board leader

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An educator from Evansville is the Indiana State Board of Education's new leader, replacing the Republican schools superintendent who stepped down, citing conflicts with the state's education governance system.

Board members voted Wednesday to elect B.J. Watts as its chairman. He replaces Jennifer McCormick, who announced in October that she would not try to remain as board chairwoman or seek re-election as superintendent in 2020.

Watts is an Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. administrator and was an Evansville City Council member before being appointed to the state board by former Gov. Mike Pence.

Legislative Republicans plan to change the superintendent position to one appointed by the governor effective in 2021. Legislators passed a law making it an appointed position starting in 2025 after policy conflicts with former Democratic Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

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