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Kentucky Education Commissioner is National Group's Policy Leader of the Year

Terry Holliday, Kentucky’s highly-regarded commissioner of education, has been named the 2014 Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The honor is given annually to a national or state policymaker in recognition of his or her contributions to education.

“Commissioner Holliday’s dedication to improving public education and his achievements are renowned in Kentucky and nationwide,” said NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “His work in cooperation with the Kentucky State Board of Education has made the state a national leader.”

When Holliday assumed the role of Kentucky Education Commissioner in 2009, he already had a deep appreciation for the state’s long history of comprehensive education reform initiatives, though he vowed to push the envelope even further. With Holliday leading the charge, Kentucky was the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards, and recently, the Next Generation Science Standards. In addition, under Holliday’s leadership, Kentucky has implemented a new assessment and accountability system, among many other initiatives; a new educator evaluation system goes statewide this fall. Critical to Kentucky’s progress is Holliday’s keen ability to engage educators, policymakers, and community leaders on important education issues, such as preparing students for success in college and career.

Since 2010, Holliday has served on the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) board of directors and is currently its president.  He also serves on the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and co-chaired the Commission on the Accreditation of Educator Preparation task force that developed new educator preparation standards. Holliday is a participant in the Global Education Leaders Program and has received numerous awards for his work in education. While he was superintendent, the 20,000-student Iredell-Statesville School District in North Carolina received the 2008 Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award. Holliday was also named 2009 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year, received the 2009 Grayson Medal for Innovation in Quality from the American Productivity Quality Council, and is an Alumni Examiner for the Baldrige Quality Award.

As commissioner of education, Holliday serves on the board of Kentucky Educational Television, Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board, and Council on Postsecondary Education. He has testified before Congress on the effectiveness of No Child Left Behind waivers, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization, and is sought after by national policymakers and stakeholders on topics such as accountability, educator evaluation systems, and state flexibility. Holliday is also co-author of the book Running All the Red Lights: A Journey of System-Wide Educational Reform.

“Terry Holliday is an exceptional leader who has made a tremendous difference for the state’s students and their ability to graduate college- and career-ready,” says Kentucky State Board of Education Chair Roger L. Marcum. “He keeps the state board focused on what is best for students and ways to support educator and administrator effectiveness.”

Previous winners of NASBE’s Policy Leader of the Year Award include Gen. Colin Powell, former North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt, former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, South Carolina Gov. and Education Secretary Richard Riley, New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, former First Lady Barbara Bush, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Holliday is scheduled to accept his award at NASBE’s national conference October 17, in Denver, Colorado.

From the National Association of States Boards of Education

Photo: Terry Holliday