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The Bottom Line: Kentucky Education Commissioner resigns

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

Wayne Lewis

FRANKFORT, Ky. — At a special meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education Thursday, Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis submitted his conditional letter of resignation.

The meeting was called after new Gov. Andy Beshear reorganized the board and replaced its members Tuesday. New members were sworn in and the agenda stated there would be a discussion about whether or not the new board would remove Lewis from his role.

After many hours of closed-door meetings, board member David Karem, a former state legislator who has served on the board during the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear, announced Lewis had submitted the resignation with conditions that he would be compensated and receive benefits for 120 calendar days.

Lewis’s contract, which he entered into in October of 2018, stated he would be in the role for four years and that he could be terminated by the Kentucky Board of Education but would have to receive 90 days’ notice of that decision.

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The board accepted Lewis’ resignation and the terms presented in the resolution. His resignation is effective immediately.

Following these actions, the board appointed current Associate Education Commissioner Robin Kinney to the role of acting commissioner. Kinney will continue in her current role at her current pay as well as assume the duties of commissioner. It was noted that Kinney would not be able to be considered for the role permanently.

Karem then suggested Kevin Brown for the role of interim education commissioner beginning Dec. 18. Brown, who served in the same interim role between former commissioners Terry Holliday and Stephen Pruitt, will hold the role at a compensation of $200,000 and carry out all the duties and responsibilities until further action by the board and/or a permanent appointment is made.

A national search will now be undertaken by the board to find the next Kentucky Education Commissioner.