Kentucky's education commissioner to retire

PHOTO Courtesy of The Kentucky Department of Education | Amy Wallot
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) — Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, who has led the state's education department for five years, plans to retire.

The Kentucky Board of Education has told WKYT that Holliday's retirement would be effective Aug. 31. Holliday became commissioner July 2009.

Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum read a letter from Holliday that, in part, said: “I am humbled and very
proud to end my 43 years in public education by serving the Commonwealth of Kentucky. For the last six years, it has
been my honor to work with an outstanding and supportive Governor, a committed State Board of Education, a high
performing Department of Education staff and passionate educators across the Commonwealth. Thank you for allowing
me to serve the children of this great state.”

The announcement came as a surprise to board members.

During his time as commissioner, Holliday has worked to improve the graduation rate and the percentage of students who graduate from high school ready for college/careers. Holliday was appointed to several boards, and has been a proponent for myriad of improvements to education.

For example, the state implemented many reform efforts including Senate Bill 1 in 2009 that mandated new academic standards, new aligned assessments and a balanced accountability system; a Professional Growth and Effectiveness System for teachers, principals and superintendents; and a comprehensive system of school and district improvement planning and support.

In 2010, Holliday enacted the Common Core math and English standards in Kentucky, making it the first state to adopt the Common Core. That implementation came with controversy and its share of critics, however, Holliday, remained focused on his goals.

Holliday heard the critics, but was focused on making improvements that would make it better. Holliday pushed for Kentuckians to review state academic standards and suggest revisions.

The Board of Education told WKYT they will form a search committee to select Holliday's replacement. But that process has not started.

Kentucky leaders, in response to news that Holliday was retiring, noted that the state was losing a key leader in education.

Council of Chief State School Officers Executive Director Chris Minnich said that when Holliday retires at the end of this school year, "so will one of the country's greatest education leaders."

Governor Steve Beshear said Holliday has been "an outstanding public servant and advocate for students, teachers and school districts in the Commonwealth throughout his remarkable career."

“We’ve seen many positive results of Terry’s leadership over the years," the governor said. "The First Lady and I are
especially grateful for the Commissioner’s work with us to raise the compulsory school age in Kentucky from 16 to 18. I
hope all Kentuckians will join Jane and me in thanking Commissioner Holliday for his hard work and dedication. We
wish him the best in this future endeavors.”

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