Thursday, June 08, 2006


Corkins Appointments Stir Controversy

Kansas Education Commissioner Bob Corkins appointed education department veteran Thomas Foster, former head of the School Improvement & Accreditation team, to serve as deputy commissioner for learning services. He replaces Alexa Posny, who left earlier this year for a high-ranking position with the U.S. Education Department.

Corkins also appointed Larry A. Englebrick, a former assistant superintendent for the Kansas City, Kans., school district, as deputy commissioner for school innovations, a new division charged with assisting Kansas schools with reform efforts.

Corkins, Foster, Englebrick, and Dale Dennis, deputy commissioner of fiscal services, will now make up senior management team at the department.

Predictably, the appointments and accompanying reorganization didn't sit well with moderate members of the State Board of Education.

“I’m afraid that it will have the consequences of creating a new silo in the department at a time when we need to have all the departments talking to one another,” Bill Wagnon, a Democrat from Topeka, told Scott Rothschild of the Lawrence Journal-World.

According to the Rothschild, both Wagnon and Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican, also were disturbed by the fact that Corkins announced the appointees before getting board approval.

“In my 35 years of being on an elective board, I have never known an executive to take this kind of action. It is absolutely not standard operating procedure,” Gamble said.


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