State board zeroing in on new education commissioner

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) announced Tuesday they have authorized Board Chair Sharon Porter Robinson to enter into contract negotiations with the preferred candidate for the next commissioner of education.  

Board members met with the three finalists in Louisville on Monday and Tuesday, before making the announcement. The Board did not reveal the preferred candidate.

The three finalists the board met are:

  • Buddy Berry, Ed.D., who has been serving as superintendent of Eminence Independent Schools since 2010. He began his teaching career as a high school mathematics teacher in Owen County and Jefferson County.
  • Robbie Fletcher, Ed.D., the superintendent of Lawrence County Schools, a position he has held since July 2014. Prior to this role, he served as a part-time faculty member at Asbury University, and as a principal, assistant principal and mathematics teacher in Martin County.
  • Jim Flynn, Ed.D., the executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, a position he has held since 2019. Before that, he was superintendent of Simpson County Schools from 2003 to 2019. Flynn has also held positions as a high school principal in Shelby County and served as vice principal and high school science teacher in Warren County.

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If an agreement is reached, the proposed negotiated contract is expected to be presented to the full board for approval at a future special meeting. If the board approves the contract at that time, then the name of the selected candidate will be announced.

The KBE has said they intend to name a new commissioner and submit that individual to the Kentucky Senate for confirmation by the end of March. The final day of the 2024 regular session of the General Assembly is April 15.

The previous Commissioner, Jason E. Glass, who was hired for the post in 2020, announced on July 31, 2023, that he would step down on Sept. 29, to become associate vice president of teaching and learning at Western Michigan University.

Associate Commissioner Robin Fields Kinney has been serving as interim Commissioner since Glass left.