A year ago, Governor Carney nominated Dr. Dennis Loftus to take over as State Board of Education President. Replacing Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, Loftus served in the role for a year. At the end of this month, sources tell me Dr. Loftus is resigning from the position.
No nomination for his replacement has been announced at this point. As well, even though Donna Johnson officially resigned a couple of weeks ago, no replacement has been announced for the Executive Director role for the State Board of Education. The State Board is still going through sunset review with that committee at Legislative Hall.
The State Board underwent many changes in the past year with four new members (including Loftus) and a now vacant role of Executive Director. It doesn’t look like that facelift is going to stop any time soon with the resignations of their Board President and their Executive Director. The State Board of Education is a different entity than the Delaware Department of Education. Any State Board members would be nominated by the Governor and then have to go through a confirmation process with the Delaware Senate. The only exception to that rule is the President which is picked solely by the Governor but there is no designated term for that role and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. In addition, the State Board themselves would pick a new Executive Director.
What is the reason for this massive amount of turnover? In January long-time board member Pat Heffernan resigned unexpectedly after an explosive board meeting about the diploma bill. Heffernan was deeply opposed to the legislation which would do away with certificates of performance or attendance for the most severe cognitively-challenged students. Governor Carney signed the bill last month. Other new members came about through prior board members ending their term. But to have the President of the State Board resign after less than a year says something!