Moderates plan to replace commissioner in January
Local Kansas Board of Education member Sue Gamble said she wasn't surprised when Education Commissioner Bob Corkins resigned last week.
"I was relieved by it because it allows us to move forward with returning services to the field in a more productive way," she said.
Once newly elected board members take their seats in January, Gamble, a moderate board member who represents Shawnee, will be backed by a majority of other moderate board members. After elections in August and November, two ultra-conservative board members lost their seats to more moderate Republicans. Gamble's seat was not up for re-election.
Corkins was the conservatives' much-disputed choice for education commissioner. With no previous background in education, Corkins formerly led a think tank critical of education. Gamble said that when appointed to the position in October 2005, Corkins' agenda focused on charter schools and vouchers.
Corkins officially resigned last week.
In a press release issued by the department, State Board Chairman Steve Abrams called Corkins' service exemplary.
Corkins wrote this statement to the board:
"My gratitude for the opportunity you've given me this past year is profound," he wrote. "Much of my confidence has been due to sound counsel from my colleagues at the agency and to the positive influence of Chairman Abrams' wisdom. I sincerely wish everyone well."
Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis is serving as the interim commissioner until the board hires a replacement.
Gamble said she wants to find a commissioner with experience. She said she also looked forward to serving with more moderate board members coming in January.
"I'm really excited about January and selection of a more qualified commissioner and one that can move us along more quickly in our continuous path of improvement," she said.