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Press Release

Monday, October 23, 2017

CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich to Step Down

Board of Directors hiring firm to select a successor
Contact:Olympia Meolaolympia.meola@ccsso.org202-336-7071

Washington, D.C. (October 23, 2017) -- After nearly a decade working with state chiefs to improve educational opportunities for all students across the country, Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), will step down from his post in January. 

CCSSO's Board of Directors is securing a search firm to select a successor for Minnich, who is in his fifth year as executive director.  

"It has been an honor to lead this organization and serve the nation's education chiefs as they have made enormous advancements for students in this country," Minnich said. 

"In my nine years at CCSSO, including five as executive director, state chiefs raised academic standards for all kids, improved the way student learning is assessed, transformed the way new teachers are prepared to enter the classroom, and crafted a better federal education law that returns flexibility to the states. Most importantly, we have put equity at the forefront of every conversation." 

Minnich leaves CCSSO to become CEO of NWEA, a not-for-profit organization that creates assessments for students. His last day at CCSSO will be January 12. 

CCSSO Board President and South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp said, "Chris Minnich is an incomparable leader who knows how to bring all sides together to take collective action and do what's best for the nation's children. We will miss his leadership, but wish him the best in this exciting next step. As an organization, we remain committed to the vision we have set forth in our strategic plan to achieve an equitable education for all children." 

CCSSO's President-Elect and Mississippi State Superintendent Carey Wright said, "I appreciate Chris Minnich's commitment to state chiefs and, most importantly, the students across the country. He has worked tirelessly to ensure we remain focused on what's in the best interest of all children. The Board of Directors is beginning our work today to find the next executive director of CCSSO who can build on this strong foundation and advance the leadership of states at this critical moment in our country. We will act quickly but take the time necessary to find the best leader." 

Former U.S. Secretary of Education and current President and CEO of The Education Trust John B. King Jr. said, "Chris has been a great partner and leader who cares deeply about what is best for students throughout the nation. At CCSSO, he has positioned state education leaders with a critical voice at the national level to advance educational equity and policies that will strengthen public education. I wish him the best in his future endeavors and look forward to continued work with CCSSO so that all students can reach their full potential."

President of The Thomas B. Fordham Institute Michael Petrilli said, "The last several years have been a tumultuous time for education reform, but Chris has steered a steady ship, working to move key decisions back to the states, where they belong, while keeping his eye on improving outcomes for kids. He will be missed on the national education policy scene." 

As a result of Minnich's leadership, state education agencies are now better positioned to support their schools and districts, to elevate teacher voice in decision-making and to offer career pathways to every kid across the country. 

"These are just some of the many accomplishments that make me proud of this organization and of the talented leaders we have across the country," he said. "I am excited to see what changes lie ahead for students because of their leadership."

Minnich's tenure at CCSSO is capped by a newly adopted strategic plan that is anchored in a commitment to provide an equitable education to every child. 

"I am confident in the future of CCSSO. The Council has a talented team and strong Board of Directors in place to deliver on the important work of meeting the needs of every child across the country."  

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The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, 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 member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.