Questions Arise About Hire For Top State Job

The woman tapped to become Kentucky's next Education Commissioner is creating controversy.

Barbara Erwin is currently the superintendent of schools in St. Charles, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. She's been the head of school districts in Arizona, Texas and Indiana. She has 36 years of experience in education, but there is something on her resume that's raising concern.

Her resume states that she was named Superintendent of the Year in Texas in 1997 and 1998, but records show she only received that award in 1997.

Erwin acknowledged the issue to 27 NEWSFIRST and says it was an honest mistake.

"I won the award in 1996-97 school year. In the 1998-99 school year, I was nominated for the national award. It was just a mistake when they were combining my resumes," she said.

There have been reports today published in the Courier Journal and the Herald-Leader with parents from her past districts, giving negative comments on her work. Some say she left their districts in disarray and was difficult to work with.

She told us that she's really not surprised.

"When you make difficult decisions, you can't please 100% of everyone and those are the people commenting now," she told us.

Erwin went on to say that it's no fun dealing with these types of issues, but it just pushes her to work even harder to prove herself. She also said this kind of thing comes with the territory of a leadership position.

The state Board of Education still has to meet and vote on the hire. Dr. C.B. Akens with the Kentucky Board of Education says the board is aware of these reports, but they're happy with Erwin.

The board's vote is scheduled for May 9th and 10th in Bowling Green.

Erwin could start July 1st and earn a base salary of 220,000 dollars.

Of at least one hundred people who sought information on the job, 27 actually completed the application process.


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