Some possible Huffman successors

So who will Gov. Bill Haslam choose to replace departing Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman? The Tennessean lists some possibilities.

The most discussed is Deputy Tennessee Education Commissioner Kathleen Airhart, a former Putnam County director of schools who was appointed to her position in 2011. She is seen as non-controversial selection.

Another promotion from within the department could be Stephen Smith, assistant commissioner of policy and legislation and the go-to person for lawmakers on policy matters. Jumping the deputy commissioner would be unusual, however.

Two long-shot possibilities are Jamie Woodson, a former state senator and current president and CEO of the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education, which has pushed for Common Core, and Candice McQueen, dean of Lipscomb University’s College of Education. Both, however, be leaving good work situations.

…On Friday, the governor’s Chief of Staff, Mark Cate, attended the Tennessee Organization of Superintendents’ already-scheduled board meeting. He reached out to the group on the search process. In an unheard of move more than a year ago, nearly 60 of its members signed a letter criticizing Huffman’s leadership.

Wayne Miller, the group’s executive director, said superintendents want someone who can “work collaboratively and not re-actively.” He sees pluses in finding a homegrown commissioner.

Note: The anonymous blog Rocky Top Politics, which has been devoted to bashing Huffman regularly and routinely, threw out another possibility even before he announced his resignation: Kingsport School Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie.