Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday announced his retirement effective August 31. Holliday has served as commissioner since July 2009.
In a letter read by Kentucky Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum, Holliday 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.”
“Dr. Holliday has been a tireless advocate for educational improvement in Kentucky,” Marcum said. “He is driven by doing what’s best for children and a systemic approach to continuous improvement for students, teachers and administrators.”
During his tenure, Holliday successfully implemented many reform efforts including Senate Bill 1 (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 – all with reduced administrative funding. Under his leadership, Kentucky has improved dramatically both its graduation rate and the percentage of students who graduate from high school ready for college and careers. The state also has secured continuous federal flexibility via a waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through the 2018-19 school year.
“Dr. Holliday is a leader in education reform on the state and national levels. He has a global vision that has helped renew Kentucky’s standing as a national leader in education – first established with the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990,” Marcum said.
Since his initial hiring as commissioner, Holliday has served on national-level groups, including the board of directors for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) for which he also served as president; the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB); the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s (CAEP’s) Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting; and the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.
“We’ve seen many positive results of Terry’s leadership over the years,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Under his guidance, Kentucky was the first state to adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards. Commissioner Holliday has worked tirelessly to implement the balanced assessment and accountability system mandated by Senate Bill 1. 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.”
Council of Chief State School Officers Executive Director Chris Minnich also noted Holliday’s impact on education in Kentucky and nationally.
“When Terry Holliday retires at the end of this school year, so will one of the country’s greatest education leaders. Terry is a bold, thoughtful commissioner who always puts what is best and most important for kids ahead of everything else. Under his leadership, Kentucky was the first state to implement college- and career-ready standards, and as a result, more students are going on to education after high school today without the need for remediation. It has been a pleasure to work so closely with him and seeing this same vision and leadership at the national level.”
In October 2014, the National Association of State Boards of Education named Holliday its Policy Leader of the Year and in March 2015, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards named Holliday the recipient of the prestigious 2015 James A. Kelly Award.
Prior to coming to Kentucky, Holliday served as superintendent, associate superintendent, director of accountability, principal, assistant principal, director of instrumental music and band director in North Carolina and South Carolina. In 2012, the Kentucky Board of Education approved a four-year extension to his initial contract. The contract was to run through August 4, 2017 at a salary of $225,000 per year.