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Briefs: CCHE gets new leadership

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education has selected a new chair and vice chair.

Richard Kaufman, a veteran Denver lawyer who had been vice chair, was elected chair. Commission member Patricia Pacey was elected vice chair. She’s an economist with expertise in performance audits and economic modeling.

The change in leadership comes as the commission and the Department of Higher Education begin negotiating new performance contracts with state colleges and universities. Those contracts eventually will be the basis of a new performance funding system. The commission is supposed to flesh out the details of that system next year. See this EdNews story for background.

The previous two CCHE chairs, James Polsfut and Hereford Percy, continue to serve on the commission. See bios of all commission members.

→ Gov. John Hickenlooper has appointed two new members to the State Council for Educator Effectiveness. They are Mandi Marie Marcantonio of Arvada, to serve as a student representative, and Kimberly Oram-Smith Ash of Denver, who will serve as a representative of charter schools.

The council was created by Senate Bill 10-191 and played a major role in developing the state’s principal and teacher evaluation system. It’s currently working on rules for evaluation of non-classroom licensed teachers, such as counselors and media specialists. See list of other council members.

→ Three state agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding as part of the Hickenlooper administration’s effort to better coordinate the work of state early childhood offices.

The memo is described by the lieutenant governor’s office as “a shared vision for supporting child development, school readiness, and early school success (and) calls for the creation of an aligned and integrated system of support including the use of common learning guidelines, program standards, and professional development to reach common goals.”

The signers of the memo are the lieutenant governor’s office, the Department of Education and the Department of Human Services. The memo follows the creation of a consolidated Office of Early Childhood in the human services department.

Over the next year, the agencies are supposed to develop a written plan for establishing coordinated learning and development guidelines for birth through third grade, an early childhood assessment framework, strategies for how existing agencies can help improve early childhood literacy and a framework for professional development of early childhood teachers.

Improvement of early childhood services is one of the Hickenlooper administration’s education priorities. A 2012 bill to merge a variety of agencies was defeated by conservative Republicans who were worried about excessive government intrusion in family life. So the governor is trying to accomplish some of his goals administratively. Read the memo of understanding.