Updated 2:45 p.m. – The State Board of Education this afternoon unanimously chose Robert Hammond as interim commissioner of education just a few moments after outgoing Commissioner Dwight Jones recommended his deputy for the job.
Jones, who’s headed to Las Vegas to be superintendent of the Clark County, Nev., schools, gave his formal letter of resignation to the board this afternoon. Jones’ last day at work in Colorado will be Dec. 13; he starts in Vegas two days later.
Later in the afternoon the board was scheduled to discuss a timetable for hiring a professional search firm to assist in the hunt for a permanent commissioner. The draft plan calls for the board to select a firm in December and then meet in January with the selected firm and plan next steps. The board’s two new members, Paul Lundeen and Debora Scheffel, will be sworn in at that January meeting.
Hammond currently is deputy commissioner in charge of operations and administration. He joined the department in March 2008 after serving as chief operations officer for the Boulder Valley school district. Hammond is married to Ranelle Lang, superintendent of the Greeley district.
Updated noon – Multiple media outlets are reporting that Republicans have taken control of the state House of Representatives, but have fallen short in their bid to retake the state Senate. According to The Denver Post:
In the House, Republicans succeeded in their quest to win six seats to win the majority.They knocked off five incumbents: Debbie Benefield and Sara Gagliardi of Arvada, Dennis Apuan of Colorado Springs, Joe Rice of Littleton and Dianne Primavera of Broomfield…
Republicans needed to win four Senate seats to reclaim the majority they lost in 2004, but so far have picked up just one, with state Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, beating Sen. Bruce Whitehead, D-Hesperus.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat also has won election to a six-year term, earning the narrowest of victories over Republican Ken Buck.
What’s on tap
The state board is facing a full agenda, with top agenda items including signing off on the first school ratings under the 2009 Education Accountability Act. That means every Colorado school is being given a plan type – performance, improvement, priority improvement or turnaround – based on indicators including growth on state test scores by historically disadvantaged student groups. Schools must create plans to improve based on the designation they’re assigned. The board’s also expected to further discuss a new state testing system and the ponderously named “State Board of Education Implementation of Commissioner Search Project.” Read agenda here.
Trustees of Metro State College meet from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Tivoli Student Union, room 320 (agenda).
The Mesa State College trustees meet at 9:30 a.m. on campus in Grand Junction (agenda)
The Adams 12 school board meets at 7 p.m. at Mountain Range High School, 12500 Huron St. in Westminster (agenda).