Brownback names Hoisington principal to education commission

07/02/2014 3:19 PM

07/03/2014 7:01 AM

Gov. Sam Brownback announced his final appointment to a special commission on student performance on Wednesday, selecting a principal from Barton County.

The K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission was created when the Legislature passed a school finance bill in April with the purpose of studying ways to more effectively spend state dollars to maximize student learning.

The governor appointed two superintendents to the commission last month. With his final appointment he chose Meg Wilson, principal of Hoisington High School.

“Meg will be a valuable addition to the commission,” Brownback said. “She brings a wealth of experience to the position, and I am grateful to her for sharing her time and talents with the people of Kansas through her service.”

Wilson has spent 31 years in education with experience in special education, according to a release from the governor’s office.

She is also a candidate for the State Board of Education, challenging incumbent Sally Cauble in the Republican primary in District 5.

Wilson is the fourth educator appointed to the nine-person commission. She joins fellow principal Ken Thiessen from Wichita East High School, who was appointed by Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and the governor’s two other appointees, Jim Hinson and Bev Mortimer, superintendents of the Shawnee Mission and Concordia school districts, respectively.

Wagle also appointed Sam Williams, a Wichita businessman.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, chose Dave Trabert, CEO of the Kansas Policy Institute, and Mike O’Neal, president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. The Kansas National Education Association criticized Merrick for choosing paid lobbyists as his appointees.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, chose former Sens. Janis Lee and John Vratil.

Mark Tallman, spokesman for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said the appointment of Wilson helps make sure the commission is well-rounded.

“I don’t know her political views at all, but clearly she does have experience as an educator. That’s a very important perspective to have as part of this commission,” Tallman said.

The commission will make recommendations to the Legislature by January 2015.

Tallman said his organization hopes the commission focuses on creating the best outcomes for students and not just on saving dollars. He said the school boards association would look forward to working with the commission.

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