Alaska Commissioner of Education
|Alaska Commissioner of Education|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2014 FY Budget:||$1,567,294,800|
|Length of term:||Serves at pleasure of Board|
|Authority:||Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 27, Section 10|
|Selection Method:||Appointed by State Board of Education & Early Development|
|Assumed office:||February 3, 2011|
|Other Alaska Executive Offices|
|Governor•Lieutenant Governor•Attorney General•Comptroller•Education Commissioner•Revenue Commissioner•Agriculture Director•Insurance Director•Natural Resources Commissioner•Labor Commissioner•Regulatory Commission|
The current commissioner of education is Michael Hanley, who began his tenure on February 3, 2011. Hanley served as an elementary school principal in the Anchorage School District from 2005 to his appointment as commissioner in 2011, and worked as a teacher from 1991 to 2005. As the commissioner of education serves at the pleasure of the governor, Hanley does not serve a fixed term.
The education commissioner's authority is based in statute, which establishes the commissioner as the principal executive officer of the Department of Education & Early Development. Technically, the Board of Education and Early Development, which is also appointed by the governor, is at the "head" of the department.
Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 27, Section 10
|There is at the head of the Department of Education and Early Development a Board of Education and Early Development. The commissioner of education and early development is the principal executive officer of the department.|
Like all principal executive officers in the Alaska government, the commissioner of education must "furnish corporate surety bonds in the instance and amount required by law," the cost of which is paid by the state. . Additionally, the commissioner must have "at least a master's degree with five years' experience in the field of education since receiving it, with at least three of the five years in an exclusively administrative position."
Alaska Statutes, Title 14, Chapter 7, Section 145
|(b) The commissioner shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation and shall have at least a master's degree with five years' experience in the field of education since receiving it, with at least three of the five years in an exclusively administrative position.|
According to Alaska law (AS 14.7.145), the commissioner of education is appointed by the Board of Education & Early Development, subject to approval of the governor. However, a separate statute, AS 39.05.030, provides that the governor appoints the head of each "principal executive department" and that each executive serves at the pleasure of the governor. Controversy erupted over this apparent contradiction following the 2010 resignation of Commissioner Larry LeDoux, whose removal had been supported by the governor but opposed by the board. 
Alaska Statutes, Title 14, Chapter 7, Section 145
| (a) The board shall appoint the commissioner of education and early development subject to the approval of the governor. The commissioner shall be the principal executive officer of the department.
(c) The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the board...
Alaska Statutes, Title 39, Chapter 5, Section 30
|(a) Each principal executive officer serves at the pleasure of the governor.|
There are no term limits for the office of education commissioner. The officeholder serves at the pleasure of the Board of Education & Early Development.
Alaska law does not prescribe any particular procedure for dealing with vacancies. It is the Board of Education & Early Development's responsibility to appoint a new education commissioner, subject to approval from the governor.
As the principal executive of the Department of Education & Early Development, the commissioner's duties are to execute the responsibilities of the department. According to statute, those duties include administering state schools, a state historical library, and operating school facilities.
Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 27, Section 20
| The Department of Education and Early Development shall
(1) administer the state's program of education at the elementary, secondary, and adult levels, including, but not limited to, programs of vocational education and training, library services, and correspondence courses, but not including degree programs of postsecondary education;
(2) administer the historical library; and
(3) plan, finance, and operate related school and educational activities and facilities;
The Department of Education & Early Development includes several divisions:
- Teaching & Learning Support
- School Finance & Facilities
- Libraries, Archives & Museums
- Administrative Services
The budget for the Department of Education and Early Development in Fiscal Year 2014 is $1,567,294,800.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
The commissioner's salary is bound to a range determined by statute; it must be no less than Range 28 of the Alaska executive branch employee salary schedule nor more than Range 30.
There have been 23 Commissioners of Education since 1917.
|List of Former Officeholders from 1917-Present|
|1||Lester D. Henderson||1917-1929|
|2||Leo W. Bruer||1929-1931|
|3||William K. Keller||1931-1933|
|4||Anthony E. Karnes||1933-1940|
|5||James C. Ryan||1941-1951|
|6||Everett R. Erickson||1951-1953|
|7||Don M. Dafoe||1953-1959|
|8||Howard A. Matthews||1959|
|9||Theo J. Norby||1959-1962|
|10||William T. Zahradnicek||1963-1967|
|11||Clifford R. Hartman||1967-1971|
|12||Marshall L. Lind||1971-1983|
|13||Harold Raynolds, Jr.||1983-1986|
|14||Marshall L. Lind||1986-1987|
|15||William G. Demmert||1987-1990|
|17||Dr. Shirley J. Holloway||1999|
|18||Richard S. Cross||1999-2000|
|19||Dr. Shirley J. Holloway||2001-2003|
|20||Roger L. Sampson||2003-2007|
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801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
Juneau, AK 99811
Phone: (907) 465-2800
Fax: (907) 465-4156
- Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, "Office of the Commissioner - Official Bio," accessed June 2, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 44.27.010," accessed June 1, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.050," accessed June 1, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center", "Alaska Statutes 14.07.145," accessed June 2, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.030," accessed June 2, 2011.
- Peninsula Clarion, "Commissioner's resignation riles education board," November 29, 2010.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 44.27.020," accessed June 2, 2011.
- Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, "About EED," accessed June 2, 2011.
- Alaska Office of Management and Budget, "FY 2014 Operating Budget," May 28, 2013
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.20.080," accessed June 1, 2011.
- Alaska State Library Historical Collections, "Alaska Commissioners of Education-Chief State School Officer," accessed July 27, 2013