Vermont's Department of Education is bracing for major changes. Starting in 2013 the department becomes an agency. State law will require a Secretary of Education to oversee the state's public education system.
Vermont's current education commissioner, Armando Vilaseca, is considering applying for the new post of Vermont education secretary. "I'm very, very interested in it I enjoy this job," says Vilaseca.
The move would mean more than a change in title. A secretary has a seat in the Governor's cabinet and a commissioner does not. The move comes in response to a change in state law. Vilaseca says having his future in limbo has been tough, "In many places I am seen as a lame duck so when I go and talk to school boards when I going talk to superintendents when I go talk to groups I'm sure there may be a little bit of the doubt in the back of their mind about well is this person really still going to be here or not."
A four person panel from the department of education will oversee the nationwide search for the new secretary. The group's chair Stephan Morse says he's looking for an innovative administrator to fill the post, "We're looking for someone who has the creativity and the ability to adapt to the changing demands of the educational system not only in Vermont but in the country."
Morse says the search could take 4 months-- and he's not ruling Vilaseca out for the top spot. He's not convinced a new leader is needed to make a clean switch from commissioner to secretary. "He definitely will get serious consideration I think a lot of people in the Vermont educational community are impressed with the job he's done in the last few years," says Morse.
Vilaseca says he's waiting to review details of the new post before formally committing to putting his name in the ring, for now it's full steam ahead with a new school year underway. "I can't control what happens in the future so I'm going to work hard until whatever happens," says Vilaseca.
State law requires the new secretary to be in place by January 2013.The search committee is advertising for the post in-state and online. It's slated to have three candidates for the Governor to consider by December.