State moving forward on background checks of remaining education commissioner finalist

Kentucky Board of Education chairman Roger Marcum said that as of Friday afternoon, "nothing negative" had emerged through background checks on the lone remaining candidate for Kentucky's next education commissioner.

Marcum said he expected by next week to get a final word from an outside firm conducting those checks on Stephen Pruitt.

Marcum said he would then call a special meeting in the next few weeks for the board to take a formal vote on Pruitt's selection.

After that, board members hope that Pruitt can be at an Oct. 6 meeting so they can approve an employment contract, Marcum said.

Pruitt is senior vice president at Achieve Inc., a Washington, D.C., education reform organization, where he has worked since 2010.

Pruitt had been one of two finalists for the commissioner position, which became vacant when Terry Holliday retired last month.

The other finalist, Christopher Koch, interim president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and a former Illinois commissioner of education, withdrew from consideration Sept. 4.

Pruitt's organization works with states on education standards. He was a leader in the development of the new science curriculum measures known as Next Generation Science Standards and had worked with Kentucky officials on those standards.

Associate commissioner and general counsel Kevin C. Brown is interim commissioner.