By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
Gov. Matt Bevin announced on Tuesday that Tourism Cabinet Secretary Don Parkinson will be taking over as interim secretary of Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The announcement comes after former secretary Hal Heiner was appointed to the Kentucky Board of Education on Monday.
At a press conference about the appointment, Bevin praised the work of Heiner during his time in the role on issues like dual credit scholarships, the Work Ready Kentucky program and other areas. The governor noted Heiner did not take a salary for the position and said his decision to resign from his role and becoming a member of the board of education comes as a matter of wanting to spend more time with family while still staying involved in education.
Heiner stated his main priorities during his tenure was closing the skills gap in the state, ensuring post-secondary education success, and improving Kentucky’s workforce participation rate. He stated he hopes work on those issues continues under the cabinet’s new leadership.
As Parkinson takes on the new role in the education and workforce cabinet, Bevin stated Regina Stivers will serve as interim secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet from her current role as deputy secretary.
Along with Heiner, Bevin appointed a total of eight people to the Kentucky Board of Education Monday. Other appointees include Lexington business leader Kathy Gornik, Kentucky Board of Education parental adviser Tracey Cusick, Louisville entrepreneur Joe Papalia, former Bevin Communications Director Amanda Stamper, Ashland businesswoman Laura Timberlake, and Ben Cundiff, who was first appointed in 2016 to fill an unexpired term. All board members will serve four-year terms.
The Kentucky Board of Education develops and adopts the regulations that govern Kentucky’s public school districts. The new board members will have their first meeting later on Tuesday in a specially called meeting to discuss “personnel matters.”