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Vermont Secretary of Education

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Vermont Secretary of Education
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2010 FY Budget:  $19,234,222
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   Serves at the pleasure of the governor
Authority:  Vermont State Code, Title 3, Chapter 49, Section 2701
Selection Method:  Appointed by Governor
Current Officeholder
Name:  Rebecca Holcombe
Assumed office:  January 2014
Compensation:  $124,010
Other Vermont Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Board
The Vermont Secretary of Education is an appointed executive position in the Vermont state government. The secretary serves as the state's chief education official and is responsible for overseeing the operation of Vermont's public schools. The commissioner also sits on the State Board of Education as a non-voting, ex officio member.

In accordance with the May 3, 2012, passage of H. 440, the office of the Commissioner of Education was be replaced by the newly created cabinet-level position of Secretary of Education. Effective January 1, 2013, the authority to select Vermont's chief education official was transferred from the State Board of Education into the hands of the governor. Thereafter, whomever the governor appoints to serve at his/her pleasure as secretary assumes responsibility of the duties previously attributed to the commissioner, as well as any new duties conferred by the law.[1]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Rebecca Holcombe. She assumed the office in January 2014.


The office of secretary is established in Title 3, Chapter 49, Section 2701 of the Vermont State Code.[2]

3 V.S.A. § 2701:

There is created an agency of education that shall be under the direction and supervision of a secretary of education.


Title 3, Chapter 49, Section 2702 of the Vermont State Code establishes the qualifications of the office:

(c) At the time of appointment, the secretary shall have expertise in education management and policy and demonstrated leadership and management abilities...


The governor selects the education secretary from a list of no fewer than three candidates submitted by the State Board of Education. The secretary's appointment is subject to final confirmation by the Senate.[3]

Prior to the appointment of Vermont's first secretary of education, the state's chief education official had the title commissioner of education. The commissioner was hired by the state board of education, with approval of the governor, and served at the pleasure of the board.[4] This system remained in effect until January 1, 2013, at which time the position of commissioner was dissolved per H. 440 and superseded by the cabinet level position of Secretary of Education.


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches the constitutional or statutory text that details the process of filling vacancies for a state executive office. That information for the Vermont Secretary of Education has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.


The specific duties of the secretary are outlined in Title 16, Chapter 5, Section 212 of the Vermont State Code:[5]

  1. Coordinate the educational work of the public schools, with higher education in the state.
  2. Identify the educational goals of the public schools, provide alternative methods of attaining those goals and promoting education in the state.
  3. Evaluate the program of instruction in the public schools.
  4. Advise the legislature concerning proposed laws affecting the public schools.
  5. Supervise and direct the execution of the laws relating to the public schools and see that they are complied with.
  6. Supervise the expenditure and distribution of all money appropriated by the state under the provisions of this title for public elementary and high schools.
  7. Arrange conferences and summer schools for superintendents and for teachers and employ suitable speakers, lecturers and instructors for the same; fix the amount of tuition therefore; provide for educational gatherings, institutes, summer schools and other like supplementary educational activities and for cooperation with the free public library commission.
  8. Provide methods whereby the people may be informed as to the educational conditions and opportunities within the scope of public instruction and for such other educational publicity as may, in his judgment contribute to the enlightenment and well-being of the citizens of the state.
  9. Establish requirements for information to be submitted by school districts, including necessary statistical data and other information. The commissioner shall ensure, to the extent possible, that any data which is used to determine financial aid shall be reported in a uniform way.
  10. Make recommendations to school boards regarding transportation policies.
  11. Provide an educational facilities planning service to make available technical assistance and comprehensive information on school construction, school systems design, component technology and suppliers, and similar subjects to elementary or secondary schools, school districts or independent schools, for the purpose of helping those schools or independent schools to achieve flexibility and economy in construction, to retain the potential for modification and expansion of educational facilities, and to attain the lowest maintenance costs consistent with educational needs.
  12. Distribute at his discretion upon request to approved independent schools appropriate forms and materials relating to the Vermont state basic competency program for elementary and secondary pupils.
  13. Ensure the provision of services to children and adolescents with a severe emotional disturbance in coordination with the department of mental health, the department for children and families, and the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living pursuant to the provisions of chapter 43 of Title 33.
  14. Annually communicate to each superintendent a list of information that a school board, a school district, a school, a school district employee, or a supervisory union employee is required under state or federal law to make available to the electorate, community members, parents, or students. It is the intent of this subdivision that the commissioner of education shall make a good faith effort to compile a complete list of information to be made available to the electorate, community members, parents or guardians, and students. However, due to the difficult nature of compiling such a list, it is also the intent that failure to include relevant information on the list shall not constitute grounds for an action against the commissioner.
  15. Annually, with the commissioner of health shall jointly inform superintendents and principals of appropriate practices regarding students with life-threatening allergies and chronic illnesses; and prepare and distribute policies, training materials, and school guidelines for managing students with life-threatening allergies and chronic illnesses, including family responsibilities, school responsibilities, and student responsibilities.
  16. Annually, convene a meeting of directors of Vermont educator preparation programs and representatives of school boards, superintendents, principals, educators, and the Vermont standards board to determine subject and geographic areas in which there is a critical need for educators and to discuss ways to meet the need.
  17. Encourage and facilitate collaboration among school districts and supervisory unions to share information and expertise regarding low-incidence special education needs.
Click here to view a larger-scale image of the Vermont Agency of Education Organizational Chart as of February 25, 2013.


  • Educator Quality
  • General Supervision & Monitoring
  • Integrated Support for Learning
  • Research, Standards & Assessment
  • Safe Schools & Equity
  • School Mergers & Finance

State budget

See also: Vermont state budget and finances

The budget for the Department of Education (finance and administration only) in Fiscal Year 2010 was $19,234,222.[6]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


In 2014, the secretary received a salary of $124,010, according to the Council of State Governments.[7]


In 2013, the secretary was paid an estimated $121,701. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2010, the secretary was paid an estimated $113,402 according to the Council of State Governments.[9]

Historical officeholders

There have been two Vermont Secretaries of Education since the office's creation in 2013.[1]

Recent news

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Contact information


Vermont Department of Education
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

Additional contact information

See also

External links

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