(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) voted unanimously Aug. 21 to approve a waiver that removes the requirement for teachers to move to Rank II – a move that will provide districts with greater flexibility and support in recruiting and retaining teachers.

Most Kentucky teachers earn Rank II by completing an EPSB-approved master’s degree program. Before this action, Kentucky educators were required to obtain Rank II by the second renewal of their five-year professional certificate.

“EPSB’s waiver is a positive step for districts and teachers,” said Wayne Lewis, interim commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education and the executive secretary of the EPSB. “While many teachers will continue to pursue Rank II with either a master’s degree or through a continuing education option, they will now be permitted to make the choice to do so and to pursue that advancement on their own personal and professional timelines.”

The vote was 11-2, with Donna Hedgepath and Sherry Powers voting against. The move was the result of a recommendation by a 2017 board committee that reviewed expanding options for Rank II. The committee was composed of stakeholders representing both public and private higher education, school district administrators and teachers.

This is the first regular meeting of the EPSB since Gov. Matt Bevin signed an executive order that moved administrative functions of the board to the Kentucky Department of Education under the newly created Office of Education Licensure and Effectiveness, and transferred the authority of the former Executive Director of EPSB to the Commissioner of Education. Lewis discussed the changes made during his opening comments.

“The board retains the authority that it previously had. It is the entity entrusted with promulgating regulations for teacher certification and educator preparation,” said Lewis. “KDE now provides the staff function. It is more in line with what is happening across the country. I look forward to continuing to work with this board, and with teachers so that we can ensure that every student in the commonwealth has access to a high-quality teacher.”

Additional information about the board meeting can be found on EPSB’s website.