Saturday, March 18, 2006

State Board of Education loses experienced official

Alexa Posny leaving for position in Washington, D.C.:
A high-ranking official in the Kansas Department of Education who was passed over for the job of state education commissioner will be leaving for the U.S. Department of Education.

Alexa Posny, currently deputy commissioner of education, will become director of the Office for Special Education Programs with the federal education agency.

Her new responsibilities will include advising Hager on educational policy related to individuals with disabilities, providing leadership in addressing the problems of education for children with disabilities and coordinating grant programs administered by the office.

In announcing Posny’s appointment, Hager said that under her leadership, Kansas had become a national leader in including students with disabilities in the state accountability system.

Posny has been with the state education department since 1999, when she was hired as the state director of special education.
Posny was on the short-list for Commissioner of Education, and had a lot of support. When I was discussed the matter with Sue Gamble very early in the process, she was singing Posny's praises, and the main strength many people cited was her ability to work with the US Department of Education, getting around excessive strictures of NCLB, ensuring that regulations wouldn't prevent Kansas schools from doing what kids need, especially in special ed.

This is a loss to the state, and may well signal the beginning of a larger exodus, an exodus that began with former Commissioner of Education Andy Tompkins.