Education board sets interviews

The Kentucky Board of Education is poised to take the first major step in its search for a new state education commissioner.

Board members will meet in Louisville on March 5 to interview representatives from several national search firms and are expected to hire one of them that day to lead the search for a successor to former state Education Commissioner Jon Draud.

Draud announced that he was stepping down late last year, citing lingering health problems from a stroke he suffered in September. Elaine Farris is serving as interim education commissioner until a permanent replacement is named.

The state has sent out requests for proposals from national search firms, and a number have responded.

Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Lisa Gross said the state education board plans to interview up to four of those firms at the March 5 meeting. If things go well, the board probably will name one of the companies later that day to lead the search, she said.

It is expected that the search firm would sift through potential commissioner candidates from Kentucky and across the country, and submit a pared-down list of individuals to be interviewed by the state board.

Gross said, however, that developing that final list probably would take "many weeks."