McPherson superintendent named Kansas education commissioner

Randy Watson, superintendent of McPherson school district
Randy Watson, superintendent of McPherson school district

The superintendent of the McPherson school district has been picked as the state’s next education commissioner.

The Kansas State Board of Education named Randy Watson to the role Thursday. Besides leading the McPherson school district, Watson is chairman of a new innovative districts program.

Under a 2013 law, up to 29 of the state’s 286 school districts can be designated as innovative. The McPherson district was one of the first two to receive the designation, which allows districts to be exempt from certain state public education regulations if they present plans to improve student achievement.

Watson is taking over for Diane DeBacker, who left her position in May to become an adviser to the director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council in the United Arab Emirates.