Terry Holliday

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Terry Holliday
Terry Holiday.jpg
Kentucky Commissioner of Education
In office
July 2009 - Present
Years in position 6
Base salary$225,000
Elections and appointments
AppointedJuly 2009
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sFurman University
Master'sWinthrop University
Ph.D.University of South Carolina
Office website
Terry Holliday is the Commissioner of Education in Kentucky. He was named as Kentucky's fifth Commissioner of Education in July 2009.[1]


Long active in the field of education, Holliday has served in a variety of roles in North Carolina and South Carolina, including superintendent, associate superintendent, director of accountability, principal, assistant principal, director of instrumental music and band director. He served as superintendent of the Iredell-Statesville school district from 2002 until 2009, when he was appointed as Kentucky Commissioner of Education.[1]


  • Bachelor’s degree, Furman University
  • Master’s degree and education specialist degree, Winthrop University
  • Doctorate, University of South Carolina

Political career

Kentucky Commissioner of Education (2009-present)

Holliday has served as Kentucky Commissioner of Education since 2009.[1]


Common Core

See also: Common Core State Standards Initiative

In February 2010, six months after the Kentucky State Board of Education appointed Holliday as the next state Education Commissioner, the Board voted to adopt Common Core, making Kentucky the first state to do so.[2] [3] The new national standards were later accepted and finalized as an outgrowth of Kentucky Senate Bill 1 (2009), which mandated that every Kentucky public school student graduate be prepared for higher education or a career.[4]

Holliday was an advocate of Common Core from the outset, and became a vocal defender of the initiative once it came under attack by various activist groups and media critics--mainly, but not all, right wing--as well as inside the Kentucky Legislature.[5] During a May 2014 information session with a national education writers group, Holliday spoke out in support of Kentucky's new academic standards. Reminding them of the enthusiastic support with which state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1 back in 2009, Holliday noted the sudden opposition did not arise until it was publicly lauded by President Barack Obama. Then, Holliday said, "the national debate moved from a debate about the schools to a debate about federal intrusion in education."[5] Some of the blow-back came from Tea Party activists who argued the reform agenda was tainted by outside funding from liberal interests. From 2008 through 2013, the Kentucky Department of Education received $10,800,877 in grants from the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation also provided a grant of $476,553 to a foundation affiliated with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to promote Common Core and a grant of $501,580 to a foundation affiliated with the National Education Association to help implement Common Core in the state. In an article by The Washington Post that reported the Gates Foundation spent "at least" $15 million to build support for the new standards and to improve implementation, Holliday stated, "Without the Gates money, we wouldn’t have been able to do this."[6]

As of June 2014, math and reading standards have been implemented in Kentucky, with the controversial new science standards coming later in the year, according to Holliday. Initially adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education, the science standards were subsequently shot down by a legislative committee vote. Beshear, who serves as chairman of the National Governors Association Education and Workforce Committee, overrode the committee's rejection by executive order.[7]. Along with the NGA, the Council of Chief State School Officers was instrumental in formulating the new academic standards. As a member of this national office organization, Holliday assisted in the development of the Common Core standards and was an early leader in educational outreach efforts on behalf of national education reform.



Holliday was appointed as Kentucky Commissioner of Education by the Kentucky Board of Education in 2009.[1]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Kentucky Commissioner of Education
Succeeded by