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Iowa State Education Boss Could Be Leaving His K-12 Post

Jason Glass, Iowa's director of education, could be on the move, with the Associated Press reporting that Eagle County Schools in Colorado has listed Glass one of three finalists for its open superintendent's position. The district posted Glass as one of the finalists on May 9.

Given Glass' resume, the news is entirely surprising. He previously held two different jobs with the Eagle County district, director of human resources and director of research and assessment, and before that he worked on the Colorado Department of Education. He took over the top K-12 job in Iowa in late 2010. His resume indicates he worked in the district for just over three years. The district has about 6,200 students.

Eagle County states it started with 24 "highly qualified" applicants before winnowing the pool to three. The other candidates are a superintendent in a Wisconsin district, and an assistant superintendent in another Colorado district. By dint of his position alone, Glass appears to be the favorite, but of course nothing's been finalized and many other factors could come into play. He could even be offered the job but eventually refuse it.

When he came to Iowa after being appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, Glass took on an ambitious agenda that delighted some seeking major K-12 policy overhauls in the state but upset others suspicious of some of his proposed major changes. As I wrote about last year, for example, he pushed unsuccessfully to require all high school juniors to take a college entrance exam, and to require 3rd graders to demonstrate reading proficiency or else repeat the grade. But he had success elsewhere, such as a law passed last year allowing schools to grant competency-based degrees. This year, increases to school funding (mainly to pay for increases to starting teachers' salaries) and other significant changes to the teaching profession backed by state officials have bogged down in the legislature. Glass has made teachers a particular focus during his time in the state.

When I contacted Glass seeking comment, he said in a message that, "I'm honored to be considered" for the Eagle County job but declined to discuss the matter further given his status as a finalist. The AP reported that Branstad's administration said Glass' position as a finalist for Eagle County's top job signifies his status as a "top talent." The Des Moines Register reported that he would be getting a pay raise if he went to Colorado. Right now he makes $147,000 annually, the paper said, but he would earn $175,000 per year in Eagle County, if not more.

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