LOUISVILLE — The same search firm that recommended Terry Holliday as Kentucky education commissioner in 2009 will be hired to find his successor.
The state Board of Education on Thursday approved Greenwood/Asher and Associates, which also conducted searches that led to hiring University Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and his predecessor, Lee T. Todd Jr.
Holliday has announced he will retire at the end of August.
Jan Greenwood and Breathitt County native Betty Turner Asher, partners in the Florida-based executive search firm, told the board they had successfully completed more than 2,000 executive searches and had a 97 percent rate of return business.
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The firm's contract with the state board is for $80,000, according to board documents.
One of the other applicants was PROACT Search, the Illinois-based company with which Fayette County Public Schools terminated its contract Sunday after questions were raised about the CEO. Fayette County is searching for a new superintendent.
State education board members said at the meeting that they wanted the next commissioner to put student achievement first and continue the state's standing as a national leader in education reform.
Holliday has set high standards for his replacement, board members said.
Gene Wilhoit, director of the National Center for Innovation in Education and a former Kentucky education commissioner, facilitated a discussion Thursday with board members about the characteristics they seek in the next commissioner.
The public will be able to comment on the draft list of characteristics starting next week; all input will be provided to the board for its consideration in finalizing the list, state officials said in a news release.