LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says he plans to retire on Aug. 31.
In a letter regarding his retirement, Holliday said, "I am humbled and very proud to end my forty-three years in public education by serving the the Commonwealth of Kentucky as Commissioner of Education."
Holliday was named education commissioner in 2009 and has been in charge of overseeing the education of 675,000 students in Kentucky's public schools. He
"No two days are ever alike, which is a good thing," said Holliday, 63, in an interview with WDRB News in August of 2014.
During his tenure as education commissioner, Holliday has put pressure on Jefferson County, and once referred to the slow progress at some schools as "academic genocide."
Holliday's advocates – and even his critics – have credited him for getting the state's education reform efforts back on track.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear released a statement about Holliday's retirement:
“Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has been an outstanding public servant and advocate for students, teachers and school districts in the Commonwealth throughout his remarkable career. His leadership has helped Kentucky develop a world-class education system for our students, and Kentucky is recognized as a trailblazer for meaningful education reform and improvements. We've seen many positive results of Terry's leadership over the years. Under his guidance, Kentucky was the first state to adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards. Commissioner Holliday has worked tirelessly to implement the balanced assessment and accountability system mandated by Senate Bill 1. The First Lady and I are especially grateful for the Commissioner's work with us to raise the compulsory school age in Kentucky from 16 to 18. I hope all Kentuckians will join Jane and me in thanking Commissioner Holliday for his hard work and dedication. We wish him the best in this future endeavors.”
Roger Marcum, Chairman for Kentucky's Board of Education, calls Holliday a "leader in education reform on the state and national levels." Marcum added, "Terry Holliday has a global vision that has helped renew Kentucky's standing as a national leader in education."
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said, "Terry Holliday is driven by his passion for students. It has been great working with him. He's done an exceptional job of moving public education in Kentucky in the right direction."
Since his arrival, the state has implemented a new system for assessing its schools and holding them accountable for their students' performance, as well as a new teacher-evaluation system that measures teacher and leader effectiveness.
In addition, under Holliday's insistence, Kentucky became the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards and later was among the first to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards – efforts to update and standardize subjects such as reading, math and science so students are better prepared for college and the workforce.
Kentucky Board of Education members, who say Holliday's retirement came as a surprise, have begun the process of finding a new education commissioner. Since 2010, Holliday has served on the Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCSSO) board of directors and was president of the national organization in 2014.
"When Terry Holliday retires at the end of this school year, so will one of the country's greatest education leaders," said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. "Terry is a bold, thoughtful commissioner who always puts what is best and most important for kids ahead of everything else.
"Under his leadership, Kentucky was the first state to implement college- and career-ready standards, and as a result, more students are going on to education after high school today without the need for remediation," Minnich said. "It has been a pleasure to work so closely with him and seeing this same vision and leadership at the national level."
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