After only a year on the job, the State Board of Education‘s executive director is leaving. Robert Guffin announced he'll retire at the end of May. He leaves just as some members of the State Board might be leaving, too, as the board is overhauled under a law passed by the legislature this year.
Guffin was hired for the position by the now-defunct Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI) in May 2014 after he retired from a position with the Indianapolis Public Schools. CECI was created by Governor Pence to provide staff for the State Board and to help promote his education policies. But the agency was seen as a rival for the Department of Education by Democratic State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, and the governor dissolved CECI this year in conjunction with changes to the board made by lawmakers. There could be several new members appointed to the board soon, with two of the appointments shifted from the governor to the leaders of the State House and Senate.
Guffin managed the staff of the State Board and helped it work on the new A-F school accountability system during his year as director. His last five years with IPS were as principal of Harshman Magnet Middle School, where the percentage of students passing ISTEP almost tripled during his tenure.
"It has been an honor working to improve the lives of Hoosier students and preparing the next generation of education leaders during my career in our schools and as Executive Director of the State Board of Education," Guffin says in a statement. "I am looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my life and enjoying time with my children and grandchildren."
A statement from State Board spokesman Marc Lotter says a new executive director will be appointed at a future board meeting.