KY Education Commissioner resigns, New board members sworn in

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Commissioner of Education, Wayne Lewis resigned on Thursday.

This action comes after newly elected Governor, Andy Beshear fired all the board members and replaced them as his first act of business in office.

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Thursday’s board of education meeting started out as normal. Every member and the commissioner were all sitting around the table.

One of the items on the agenda was considering firing Wayne Lewis.

The new board members were sworn in and then the meeting was moved to behind closed doors.

After a few hours, the board returned without Lewis.

The board chair announced Lewis resigned. The board members voted to keep paying him and his benefits for four months.

“We had an amicable negotiation with the commissioner and he’s voluntarily terminated,” said David Karem, Board Chair.

Former board member, Gary Houchens was there. He was one of the members fired days ago when Beshear took office. He was also one of ten who filed a lawsuit.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court denied their emergency motion to stop the new board from meeting.

Chief Justice, John D. Minton Junior said the members had, “not shown any extraordinary cause which entitles them to relief from this court”.

Houchens still believes they still have a case.

“Our lawsuit was about the principal that the KY Board of Education is supposed to be independent and not answer to any governor Republican or Democrat,” said Gary Houchens, Former Board Member.

Lewis’ resignation is effective immediately and associate commissioner, Robin Kinney will take over until Kevin Brown becomes interim commissioner next week. Brown is an education attorney and has served as interim commissioner before.

The lieutenant governor says this gives the board a clean slate.

“I believe this is a way of looking at it as a reset and going back to a time where public education and public educations systems are put first by people who have done the work,” said Jacqueline Coleman, Lieutenant Governor.

The board will start a national search for a new commissioner.