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Katy Anthes (photo by Nic Garcia).

Katy Anthes (photo by Nic Garcia).

Anthes pledges to stay on as interim education commissioner through spring

Colorado Interim Education Commissioner Katy Anthes has pledged to stick in the role through the end of next spring’s legislative session.

In an email to Colorado Department of Education staff last week, Anthes said she has agreed to continue leading the department through the session’s completion in May 2017.

Anthes, the department’s longtime chief of staff, became interim education commissioner last May after the sudden resignation of Rich Crandall. In the email, Anthes also acknowledged she’d be interested in a longer tenure.

“I am open to further discussions with the (State Board of Education) beyond that timeframe,” she wrote. “So I will continue to lead, with an eye toward the future, while continuing to support your great work. We know there are several unknowns between now and then, including state board elections so discussions will be ongoing.”

Three of the seven State Board seats are up for election in November, putting the board’s balance of power in play. The board has not taken any steps toward filling the commissioner post on a permanent basis since Anthes took the interim position.

The education department is tasked with producing a federally required education plan that will detail how the state intends to adapt to the nation’s new education laws. Other challenges the department faces in the coming months: a review of Colorado’s academic standards — including the politically volatile Common Core State Standards — and determining how to improve the state’s chronically failing schools.

Anthes has won the admiration of observers, school leaders, advocacy groups and lawmakers since stepping into the commissioner’s role.

In a media release, State Board chairman Steve Durham, a Republican from Colorado Springs, and vice chairwoman Angelika Schroeder, a Democrat from Bouder, thanked Anthes.

“With so many important tasks ahead of the department and the board over the next nine months, we’re pleased that Dr. Anthes is willing to continue serving as interim commissioner until next May,” Durham said.

“Dr. Anthes has both the expertise and the commitment to collaboration that I believe are necessary to our work over the next several months, and we are pleased that she is willing to continue serving in this capacity until May 2017,” Schroeder said.