Kentucky Picks Achieve’s Stephen Pruitt to Take Over as State Chief

By Andrew Ujifusa — September 24, 2015 1 min read
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The Kentucky Board of Education has selected Stephen Pruitt to be its next education commissioner, and Pruitt has indicated that he will accept the job and begin work as the state chief next month.

Board members officially offered the job to Pruitt following a meeting on Wednesday. A senior vice president at Achieve, a Washington non-profit organization that works with states on standards, tests, curriculum, and other education policies, Pruitt has been publicly linked to the job for several weeks. Earlier this month, another candidate for the Kentucky job, former Illinois chief Chris Koch, withdrew his name from consideration, leaving Pruitt as the last man standing.

“I anticipate collaborating immediately with our state and community leaders to empower educators and parents, and provide every Kentucky student with an education that prepares them for success in the 21st century,” Pruitt said in a statement.

At Achieve, Pruitt oversaw the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been adopted by 15 states and the District of Columbia. He’s also worked in the Georgia education department as an associate state superintendent, and worked as a high school chemistry teacher in the Peach State. He joined Achieve’s staff in 2010.

Pruitt will replace Terry Holliday, who resigned as Kentucky’s education commissioner last month. Holliday led the state’s transition to the Common Core State Standards, which the Bluegrass State was the first state to adopt. Achieve is a key backer and proponent of the common core.

Final details of Pruitt’s contract with the state board are scheduled to be finalized at the board’s Oct. 6 meeting, and Pruitt is due to take over on Oct. 16. Until then, Associate Commissioner Kevin Brown will continue serving as interim state education commissioner.

Photo of Pruitt courtesy of the Kentucky Department of Education

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.