Oregon Education Chief Golden to Retire


Oregon Governor Katie Brown has announced the impending retirement of the state’s chief education officer, Nancy Golden.

Golden is retiring after a recent legislative reorganization left her with a staff but demolished the board led by the governor that was in charge of all education spending.

“Nancy has put Oregon on the road to improve educational outcomes for every Oregon student. She has been tireless in her commitment to equity and closing the opportunity gap, making progress toward the goal of a seamless education system from birth to career.  While Nancy’s knowledge and inspiring leadership will be missed, she has created an excellent foundation for us to build upon,” said Brown in a statement.

Golden, who started her career in 1974 as a special education teacher, said that she had not intended on the job becoming a long-term position, adding that she had come out of retirement to take the post and had promised her family she would not hold it long.

Her statement affirmed that now was a good time to retire, as the recent legislative session had included a number of educational investments and she believes the governor will do all she can to build on what they had started concerning a “cradle-to-career system” that would create more opportunities for all students in Oregon.

Golden had previously accepted the position of education policy adviser in 2011 by then-Governor John Kitzhaber.  However, she left after lawmakers created the Oregon Education Investment Board that session.  While the governor hoped the board would oversee all education spending from early childhood to post-graduate, Golden ended up on the board when the governor, who was chairman, could not attend.  She was then named chief education officer in 2013, writes Peter Wong for The Portland Tribune.

Her retirement holds significant meaning, as the position she held represents a number of education reforms Kitzhaber tried to implement.  Kitzhaber hoped to streamline the state’s K-12 education system by removing the elected position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, while at the same time investing more power into the Oregon Education Investment Board.

The board was abolished by lawmakers, leaving Golden’s position in a suspended state, as she held a position that reported to a board that did not exist.  Golden’s staff, who are responsible for coordinating education on all levels, remained.

Lindsey Capps, Brown’s education advisor, will take over as interim chief education officer.

“Lindsey has been an integral part of developing our education strategy moving forward and will play a key role in implementing investments made in the 2015 session that support excellent teaching and learning and improve high school and college graduation rates,” Brown said in a statement. “We are working to deliver an education system that awakens Oregon’s children to the power of their own potential.”