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Holcomb adviser Katie Jenner named Indiana's first secretary of education

Posted at 12:34 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 12:47:15-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb appointed Katie Jenner, his senior education adviser, to be the state's first secretary of education.

Jenner will take over the position Jan. 11, 2021.

“This is an incredibly important time for education in Indiana. Dr. Katie Jenner has focused her entire career on investing in students, teachers and staff, and she will continue to build the relationships needed to move our state forward in constructive ways,” Holcomb said Thursday in a news release.

Jenner's first position in public education was as a career and technical education teacher in Kentucky in 2005. From 2009-18, she worked for Madison Consolidated Schools in Indiana as a school administrator and district administrator. In 2018, Jenner was named vice president of K-12 initiatives and statewide partnerships at Ivy Tech Community College.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to further serve the people of Indiana,” Jenner said in a news release. “My priorities are to ensure high quality education for all students and families, and to provide solution-focused support for our teachers and educational leaders. We have great opportunity ahead in Indiana, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work hand in hand with students, educators and stakeholder partners across the state.”

Holcomb signed a bill in 2017 to make Indiana's top education official an appointed position, rather than one chosen by voters, beginning in 2025. After current Superintendent for Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick announced she would not seek a second term, Indiana legislators passed a second bill in 2019 that moved up the transition to 2021.

According to the release, Jenner's top priorities will include supporting schools through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing students with a path to success, attracting Hoosiers to the teaching profession and cultivating a "future-ready education system."