Members of the Education Professional Standards Board meeting sit around tables in a meeting room.

Members of the Education Professional Standards Board met in person for their October board meeting. Photo by Crystal Sicard, Oct. 10, 2023)

The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) sought more feedback on the search for a new education commissioner during the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) meeting on Oct. 9.

Former KDE Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney took over as interim commissioner of education on Sept. 30 while the KBE searches for a permanent commissioner. More details about the search can be found on the 2023-2024 Commissioner Search webpage.

KBE Vice Chair Lu S. Young asked council members what qualities they want in a new education commissioner and what that new commissioner’s priorities should be.

EPSB member Sarah Weedman started the conversation by asking for someone with qualities similar to former Commissioner Jason E. Glass.

“I think that our previous commissioner did a fabulous job of providing agency and not just solely making decisions himself, but allowing people with the knowledge to have roles in that decision,” she said.

Some members brought up actions they hope to see done inside the classroom.

“I would like to see someone who is knowledgeable in helping the schools that could work with behavior concerns,” said EPSB member Jacqueline Mayfield. “Because there is a lot going on when you’re in the classroom and a lot of our hands are tied. We just need some support.”

EPSB member C.J. Fryer said he hopes to see some of the initiatives like GoTeachKY and Educators Rising continued.

“I’ve got these incredible students that I want to call my colleagues here in our Commonwealth one day,” he said. “So just any work that the commissioner can do to continue these great initiatives, but also the bigger picture of how we attract and retain the best of the best in our Commonwealth.”

Young said she will bring these thoughts and ideas to the board.

Early Literacy Assessment

Melissa Diebel, an education academic program manager with KDE, gave EPSB an update on the early literacy assessment used to determine licensing for educators. Diebel – along with educators Winn Wheeler and Katrina Slone – presented a first reading of their recommendations for early literacy.

“The overall recommendation of the Early Literacy Cohort (ELC) for elementary education is to add Praxis test 5205 – which is teaching reading elementary – to the already established state requirements,” said Wheeler, assistant professor of literacy education at Bellarmine University. “The overall recommendation is that students be given a year with no cut scores to do no harm to those with different curricula within their literacy coursework, and to move to a multi-state standard setting studies cut score for the 2025-2026 school year.”

In August and September, the ELC evaluated the current Elementary Education Reading and Language Arts assessments, along with several other assessments, to determine recommendations for consideration or elimination based on legislative requirements.

Senate Bill 9 (2022), also known as the Read to Succeed Act, amended KRS 164.306 and requires EPSB to develop and maintain a list of approved teacher preparation tests for effective evaluation of reading instruction knowledge and skills.

Diebel said their recommendations for this additional test, if approved, will begin in August 2024.

The next EPSB meeting is Dec. 11, where members will have an opportunity to vote on the final assessments.