Wayne D. Lewis Jr. was named interim commissioner by the Kentucky Board of Education on April 17, 2018. The past year has been a whirlwind of action aimed at raising the bar for student learning and achievement and closing longstanding and even widening gaps between groups of Kentucky students.
This is the fourth of a six-part series detailing the work and achievements of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) during the past year. To see the whole report, view this pdf.
REORGANIZATION AT KDE
In an effort to emphasize the impact that having high-quality teachers has on students, the Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness was created within KDE last fall.
Formerly the agency arm of the Education and Professional Standards Board (EPSB), the new KDE Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness is charged with providing greater coordination of the state’s efforts pertaining to educator preparation, licensure and professional development. The office has created numerous streamlined and efficient systems since its creation, which helps ensure that all students in Kentucky’s public schools will have access to well-prepared and effective educators.
The office covers pre-service teaching and teacher development. It also is spearheading efforts to stop Kentucky’s teacher shortage under the Go Teach KY campaign.
One of the major projects the office has taken on in the past year has been working on an EPSB-approved 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.
In late 2018, Lewis also created the Office of Special Education and Early Learning, which emphasizes KDE’s commitment to Kentucky’s exceptional learners and early learners. Associate Commissioner Gretta Hylton heads these two important areas and gives her undivided attention to improving the learning experiences of exceptional learners and early learners and ensuring that KDE, education cooperatives and local school districts remain in compliance with federal and state special education laws.