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Arkansas State Education Chief Leaving to Take Over District in State

Arkansas Commissioner of Education Tom Kimbrell will be leaving his post July 1 to take over as superintendent of the Bryant school district in the state, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported April 24.

Kimbrell was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, back in 2009. He's previously served as a teacher, administrator, and superintendent, so his move to take over a district represents something of familiar territory for him. 

Kimbrell is following the example of former Iowa education director Jason Glass, who left his state job in 2013 to take over as the head of the Eagle County district in Colorado. 

This year, four other state education bosses have departed or announced their upcoming departures: Tom Luna of Idaho (not seeking re-election); Patricia Wright in Virginia (retiring); Diane DeBacker of Kansas (leaving for an education job in the United Arab Emirates); and Mick Zais of South Carolina (not seeking re-election). In addition, John Barge of Georgia is running for governor as a Republican.

Then there's Rich Crandall of Wyoming, who was on the job for only a few months before being replaced earlier this month by Cindy Hill ... who Crandall had effectively replaced as head of the Wyoming department thanks to a law the state passed last year that was subsequently ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. 

In November of last year, the Council of Chief State School Officers reported that the average tenure of a state education chief was two years and seven months. 

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