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Ohio's Kasich Hires School Adviser with Charter Background

A couple weeks ago I wrote about governors moving to shake up the education hierarchy in their states, by seeking to create their own top-level advisers outside the existing state boards and agencies that set policy. Now Ohio's new governor, John Kasich, is offering a variation on the theme (a seemingly more modest one) by bringing in a new education adviser with a history of working on charter and career-and-tech education issues.

Robert Sommers was named this week by Kasich as the "Director of the Governor's Office of 21st Century Education." While it's not a cabinet-level position, and doesn't require legislative approval, he will serve as a senior member of the governor's policy team.

The governor's office says that Sommers' role does not include overseeing the Ohio Department of Education, an independent agency, or the state superintendent of schools, Deborah S. Delisle, who has served in the post since 2008. But Sommers will coordinate with the agency and the state board of education, the governor's office told me.

Kasich's adviser, who will make $110,000 a year, formerly worked as the chief executive officer of Butler Tech, a career and technical education program in Hamilton, Ohio, and also served most recently as CEO of Cornerstone Charter Schools, in Detroit.

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