The Arkansas Board of Education has selected Tony Wood, the current deputy commissioner at the state education department, to be its new state education commissioner. The state board announced its selection at its June 12 meeting.
Wood, who the Arkansas Times reported was the preferred choice of Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, has a long track record as a district-level administrator. He’s worked as the deputy superintendent in Little Rock schools, and has served as superintendent at two other school districts in the state. He began his career in education as a biology and chemistry teacher.
At the state department, Wood was involved in the state takeover in 2011 of the Pulaski County Special district, where an audit discovered significant financial mismanagement.
Wood succeeds Tom Kimbrall, who announced he was leaving the state’s top K-12 job earlier this year to take over the Bryant school district in Arkansas. Wood will begin as commissioner July 1. Kimbrall, as I reported earlier, was the fourth state chief natinoally this year to announce his or her departure.
“Preparing Arkansas students for college and careers will continue to be the highest priority for the agency,” Wood said in a statement released by the department.
Unlike several other Southern states, Arkansas hasn’t experienced significant pushback in the state legislature to the Common Core State Standards, which the state adopted in 2010.
The Times article reports that although the state board officially hires the state superintendent, it’s the governor who really selects people for the job. And Beebe will leave office after this year. So it’s possible that the new governor will want someone else for the position in 2015. Republican Asa Hutchinson is facing off against Democrat Mike Ross in the gubernatorial campaign.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.