University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Key Recommended for Education Commissioner

In The View from the OEP on March 5, 2015 at 11:42 am


resized_99261-key-education-commissioner7_66-19364_t630On March 2, Governor Asa Hutchinson recommended Johnny Key to the post of education commissioner. Key graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1991 with a degree in chemical engineering. Representing his home area, he served both in the House of Representatives and Senate for the state of Arkansas, from 2003 to 2014.  While a member of the legislature, Key was on many committees, including the Senate Education Committee, as well as a period in 2013 that committee’s chairman. He sponsored or co-sponsored several K-12 education related bills covering adjusting provisions of school choice, studying the impact of an extended school year and implementing a new teacher evaluation system.
As of now, Johnny Key is “recommended” for this important post. The State Board of Education must vote to “hire” him. If the State Board recommends the appointment, Governor Asa Hutchinson would confirm the appointment. Currently, the job requirements for the education commissioner is to hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution, have 10 years of experience as a teacher, five of which must be of an administrative or supervisory nature, and hold a valid state teacher’s license. There are a couple of variations of bills being pursued to either lessen the requirements of the commissioner’s position or to change the dynamics of the commissioner/deputy commissioner collective roles to ensure one of the two meet the criteria. The appointment has not been added to a State Board of Education’s action agenda for next week.
In a press release, Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: “In the General Assembly, where he served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Johnny was noted for his leadership, consensus-building and bipartisan approach.”
Key responded to the appointment in a press release: “I am confident that the 475,000 students of Arkansas can lead the nation in educational growth and achievement if all stakeholders – parents, teachers, administrators, communities, businesses, and state officials – hold high expectations and work in a cooperative and collaborative manner to meet those expectations.  I am excited to have the opportunity to promote that spirit of cooperation and collaboration.” 
Further, in the Governor’s press conference Monday, Key declared he wants to “pursue excellence in education.”  It sounds as if Key wants what every other Arkansan wants – quality education!


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