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New State Superintendent Making Staff Changes At Dept. Of Education

Posted On January 11, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

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Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – When a new boss comes in, sometime the old workers go out.

That’s what is happening at the Indiana Department of Education. Multiple media sources report that about 60 employees have been fired or asked to resign since newly-elected Superintendent Jennifer McCormick was sworn in on Monday.

The IDOE employs about 250 people.

The layoffs are part of the transition to a new state schools leader from former superintendent Glenda Ritz. McCormick, a Republican, defeated Ritz, a Democrat, in last November’s election. Ritz had been the only Democrat to hold a statewide office from 2012 through 2016, but the GOP now holds each of those positions from the Governor to Attorney General.

On Tuesday, McCormick announced selections for her cabinet and directors. Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski will serve as Chief of Staff and Dr. Mark Keen will serve as Senior Advisor.

“I am thrilled to have such a talented, solid team. Each person brings a unique skill set and area of expertise to the DOE, and we are united in our focus on the students of Indiana. I look forward to what we will accomplish with such a stellar team,” said McCormick.

In laying out his 2017 legislative agenda last week, new Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said he would support legislation that would make the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction a gubernatorial appointment instead of an elected position starting in 2021, the end of McCormick’s current term.

McCormick, in a statement, acknowledged that the question of eliminating the power of Hoosier voters to pick the state schools leader would be a difficult one for legislators to answer.

“I do not view this as a personal reflection of my ability or willingness to effectively work with the governor,” she said. “While I value the notion of a separation of powers between the governor and state superintendent, I fully recognize that the governor and state superintendent must work collaboratively.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) has announced his intentions to file the bill.

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