Governor Tom Vilsack is expected to announce a new director for the Iowa Department of Education soon, perhaps by the end of the week. After a meeting of the state Board of Education Wednesday, the governor told reporters what it’ll take to replace Ted Stilwill. Vilsack says Iowa’s unique in having more local control than other states do, so he wants someone familiar with that. He also wants someone with classroom experience “so they understand what teaching is all about.” The governor’s been searching for a new education director since mid August. Vilsack says the candidate he’ll reveal this week is someone who’ll work with his agenda and is just as committed to making high schools more “rigorous and relevant,” and who understands the dynamic of Iowa’s small schools and encouraging them to expand learning opportunities. Governor Vilsack is in his second and final term as governor, but Vilsack says he doesn’t think being a “lame duck” with just a couple more years in the job has hurt his ability to recruit good candidates. Vilsack says when you’re hired in the middle of any administration you don’t know if that governor’s going to be re-elected. Vilsack says the person who’ll take over the department will be well-received by the education community and be able to do the job. “We are likely to make that announcement very, very soon — very, very soon,” Vilsack told reporters yesterday. Since Stillwill stepped down, the acting director of the education department has been Judy Jeffrey, the agency’s early childhood, elementary and secondary education administrator.
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