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Gendron Named President of National Organization
Will lead state education commissioners at pivotal time
July 2, 2009
AUGUSTA – The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) – the national association of state education commissioners – named Maine Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron as CCSSO’s board president. Gendron is replacing Ken James, former commissioner of education in Arkansas, and has served as president-elect of the organization since November 2008.
“It is an honor and privilege to serve as president of CCSSO at a time when our states are working to advance the common core state standards initiative, 21st century skills and assessments, and learner-centered education,” said Gendron. “These are some of the most exciting, challenging, and vitally important education initiatives of the past 20 years.”
Gendron’s professional career in education spans 35 years. Gendron has served in a variety of roles including kindergarten teacher, primary school principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent. As commissioner of education since March 2003, Gendron encouraged the expansion of public preschool programs in Maine and has focused on working with school systems on moving to a learner-centered education system of standards-based education. She has worked with stakeholder groups to develop recommendations for a 21st century diploma. As an early advocate of graduating all students ready for college, career and citizenship, she led Maine to become the first—and still only—state to use the SAT test as the state’s 11th grade assessment, part of her efforts to create a culture of higher aspirations and post-secondary education for all students. She also has worked to implement reorganization of Maine’s school systems into fewer units, the largest education restructuring in the state in 50 years.
During Gendron’s tenure, Maine has joined with three other states to administer a common assessment for reading and mathematics. Also, Gendron expanded the Maine Department of Education’s laptop program, which has provided notebook computers to all Maine middle school students since 2002—making Maine the first and only state with a statewide 1:1 computing program, with laptops available for every student in grades 7-12 in participating school districts. The high school expansion, announced this week, marks the world's largest educational technology program of its kind, once again putting Maine at the leading edge in using technology to support education.
Gendron has been a member of CCSSO’s board since 2006, and has held several leadership positions including board liaison for the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) and member of the Presidential Transition Task Force.
Gendron received a baccalaureate degree (B.S.) from the University of Southern Maine, completing a double major in elementary and secondary education. Her graduate studies include a master’s in educational administration from the University of Southern Maine and advanced studies at Antioch College. Commissioner Gendron holds several appointments: currently she serves as the chairperson of the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands (REL-NEI) Board, trustee member of the University of Maine System, as well as giving service to numerous other boards and commissions at the local, state, and national levels.
“As chief state school officers, there has not been a more critical time in education,” said CCSSO Executive Director Gene Wilhoit. “I am delighted Commissioner Gendron will be leading our members in this time of incredible opportunity and enhanced leadership for chiefs. Sue has been an outstanding and innovative leader in Maine and will bring her experiences and wisdom to the task of leading her peers from across the nation.”
“Each chief is deeply committed to the students in his or her state and I believe that through our collaboration and partnership with all stakeholder groups we must—and will—create dynamic, innovative, rigorous learning opportunities for each and every student,” stated Gendron.
As president of CCSSO, Gendron will continue to champion the Council’s focus on building an enhanced state/federal partnership between state education agencies and the U.S. Department of Education and the Obama Administration. President Gendron will spend her term working with CCSSO, leading an Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization task force, and ensuring chief state school officers are the leading voice in the utilization and application of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding for education.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks members’ consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.
For more information: David Connerty-Marin, Director of Communications, 207-624-6880
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