Norwich woman named next Vt. education secretary - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Norwich woman named next Vt. education secretary

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Gov. Peter Shumlin is set to jet off to China and Vietnam in just days, but before saying goodbye, he introduced his next pick for Vermont's top educator: Rebecca Holcombe.

"Every time when I asked her her philosophy, number one, it matched mine. Number two, it always came back to the kids. And that's why I think, am convinced she is going to be a great secretary," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.

"But, I want to say first and foremost, this isn't about me-- it's about us. This is about bringing together all the people in our community who care about education to sit down at the table and work together for good solutions to the kinds of challenges we face in schools," Holcombe said.

Most recently, Holcombe worked as the director of the Dartmouth Teacher Education Program in Hanover, N.H.

In January, she'll take over for outgoing secretary of education, Armando Vilaseca. He became commissioner in 2009. Last year, his title changed to secretary of education and was added to the governor's cabinet. The shift brought more power and gave the governor exclusive oversight of the position.

"The question in education isn't what works, it's what works in this context for these people," Holcombe said.

Holcombe voiced support for local control and input in any reforms to come. She also touched on a range of Vermont education issues, like school funding and consolidation, but stated she wouldn't offer too many specifics until she has had a few more days on the job.

The appointment is just one of several expected to be made in the near-term. Governor Shumlin said at Thursday's press conference that he expects to choose a new Vt. Supreme Court justice Friday.

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