Maine education commissioner to leave post

Posted April 14, 2010, at 2:48 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — State Education Commissioner Susan Gendron plans to leave at the end of the month to work for a national education consortium.

Gendron will work from Maine as policy director for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which is composed of some 35 states working to develop common assessments and to compete for a share of $350 million in federal education reform funds.

During her seven-year tenure Gendron expanded the state’s first-in-the-nation student laptop computer program, introduced new assessment tests for Maine students and oversaw the implementation of Maine’s controversial school district consolidation law.

“I am proud of the work we have done in Maine to move forward an education reform agenda that positions our state to improve teaching and learning and prepare our students for college, careers and citizenship,” Gendron said.

“From our worldwide recognition for integrating technology into the classroom to our pioneering work on implementing standards-based education, Maine is well positioned to advance student learning.”

Under Gendron’s watch, Maine became the only state in the nation to use the SAT to measure student progress of high school juniors with the aim of motivating them to consider going on to college after graduation. She is credited with expanding the state’s student laptop computer initiative to high schools and middle schools.

Recently, she managed the implementation of the reorganization law that is expected to cut the number of school districts from 290 to about 200.

Deputy Commissioner Angela Faherty will take over as acting commissioner when Gendron leaves at the end of April.

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