The Kentucky Board of Education has voted to make Wayne Lewis Kentucky’s education commissioner on a permanent basis.
Board members on Tuesday chose to bypass a national search and give Commissioner Lewis the top job permanently, pending approval of a contract. The board could vote on the terms of the contract, including salary, at its meeting on Wednesday.
“I can think of no better person than Wayne Lewis to affect the type of change that is needed in public education in Kentucky right now,” said Kentucky Board of Education Chairman Hal Heiner. “His vision for Kentucky’s students will help accomplish what educators and politicians have struggled to accomplish for many years – to close achievement gaps for students of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds and learning abilities.”
Prior to the vote, the board, all appointees of Republican Governor Matt Bevin, gave Lewis a glowing performance evaluation from his six months at the helm of the Education Department.
Lewis said he was humbled by the opportunity and optimistic about the future of education in the commonwealth.
"We do have incredible momentum. We've built an incredible team and there's not an agency in the country where I would want to be other than here," stated Lewis. "I think we're on the precipice of changing the trajectory of Kentucky Education in the way that we did in the early 1990s."
Dr. Lewis was appointed interim commissioner in April which forced the resignation of Stephen Pruitt. Like Heiner, Lewis is a proponent of charter schools.
Before becoming interim commissioner, Lewis worked as a University of Kentucky professor and served as the executive director of educational programs with the Kentucky Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development.