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Gov. Holcomb announces pick for new Indiana secretary of education

Katie Jenner will officially take on the role Jan. 11 after current Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick leaves office.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 5:38 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has tapped his senior education advisor to serve as the state’s first secretary of education, marking the first time in more than a century the state schools superintendent position isn’t decided by voters.

Katie Jenner will officially take on the role Jan. 11 after current Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick leaves office.

Jenner will immediately focus on helping schools navigate the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to shaping state policy on education funding, school accountability and testing, according to the governor’s office.

“This is an incredibly important time for education in Indiana,” Holcomb said in a statement Thursday. ”(Jenner) has focused her entire career on investing in students, teachers and staff, and she will continue to build the relationships needed to move our state forward in constructive ways.”

Under new state law, the state schools chief was removed from the ballot in November. Instead, a secretary of education — largely charged with implementing and administering policy — is chosen by the governor.

Unlike the voter-elected state superintendent, the education secretary will report directly to Holcomb as a member of the cabinet.

The switch to a governor-appointed state education secretary was originally approved by Indiana’s General Assembly, with a planned start date of 2025. Lawmakers filed legislation last year to move the change up to 2021 after McCormick announced that she would not seek a second term in 2020.

Less than two weeks before the November election, however, McCormick switched her position and accepted a nomination tap from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers to ensure “continuity” within the state’s education department, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Her “outrage” over “woefully underfunded” teachers and schools across the state also influenced her desire to remain in office, she said.

McCormick’s endorsements of Myers and Democrats during her tenure laid bare her split from Holcomb and GOP legislative leaders since she was elected to be state schools superintendent in 2016 with Republican Party support.

She has disagreed with Republican legislators on several education issues including the use of standardized testing to rate schools and teachers, and her support for increased scrutiny of charter and voucher schools that receive state money.

McCormick has accepted a position as senior vice president with EES Analytics, a data analytics company that will launch in January, according to a Wednesday news release.

Until now, Holcomb had remained quiet about any potential appointment picks, previously saying he would wait to review recommendations until after Election Day.

Jenner has previously served as a vice president at Ivy Tech Community College.

She additionally worked as a career and technical education teacher in Kentucky, and as an administrator for Madison Consolidated Schools in Indiana.

Currently, Jenner is also on the governor’s commission tasked with making recommendations for how to improve teacher salaries.

“My priorities are to ensure high quality education for all students and families, and to provide solution-focused support for our teachers and educational leaders,” Jenner said in a statement Thursday. “We have great opportunity ahead in Indiana, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work hand in hand with students, educators and stakeholder partners across the state.”

Jason Bearce, Indiana Chamber of Commerce vice president of education and workforce development, said Jenner’s prior roles “are a big positive” for the business community, and will help ensure that younger Hoosiers “are prepared to pursue relevant and prosperous careers.”

“The Indiana Chamber has long supported making Indiana’s top education official an appointed position so the governor has someone aligned with his policy priorities in such a key role,” Bearce said in a statement Thursday. “That enhanced level of cooperation and collaboration will make the state’s education direction clear and allow for more impactful efforts on behalf of Indiana students.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
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