Kansas Education Commissioner DeBacker Announces Resignation

Posted on May 12, 2014

TOPEKA – The Kansas State Board of Education (KSBE) accepted the resignation of Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker.  DeBacker, who has served as commissioner since 2010, is leaving the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to serve as Advisor to the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council and will be relocating to the United Arab Emirates.  The KSBE selected Deputy Commissioner Brad Neuenswander to serve as interim commissioner until Dr. DeBacker’s successor is selected.  Dr. DeBacker was selected from an international search to serve the Abu Dhabi Director General.  In her new role, she will provide expert counsel to support the Abu Dhabi education system.

DeBacker has spent 32 years in education. Her varied experience includes classroom instruction at the high school and university levels and four years as a member of the local board of education.  She has been an administrator at the building and district levels and has been with the KSDE a total of 11 years, serving as Director of School Improvement and Accreditation as well as Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Learning and Innovative Services.

DeBacker served as Interim Commissioner for one year prior to being named Commissioner by the Kansas State Board of Education in September 2010. As the state’s chief education officer, she provides leadership to the Kansas State Department of Education in carrying out the policies and programs prescribed by the State Board of Education, to ensure the necessary oversight and support is provided to assist Kansas schools, educators and students in achieving their goals.  

Throughout her career DeBacker has been sought out by schools, districts, education organizations and others for her educational insights as well as her clear thinking around the issues and challenges facing policy makers, educators and students.  DeBacker’s last day at KSDE is May 14, 2014.  

Above Written by:  Denise Kahler, Director of Communications on April 9, 2014    http://www.ksde.org/Home/QuickLinks/NewsRoom/tabid/586/aid/28/Default.aspx

C3 Kansas Technical Assistance Liaison Gary Manford, who has worked with the Commissioner at KSDE since her arrival, said, "Her support of MC3/C3 has been unrivaled.  Her personal involvement and her confidence in our work has been so appreciated.  There will be grieving take place in this chair (at work) and at many educational venues, at the departure of this colleague and friend." 

SC3 Indian Education Technical Assistance Coordinator Jacob Tsotigh, who previously served as the Mid-Continent Comprehensive Center's Kansas Technical Assistance Coordinator, said, "We will miss her unequivocal support of our Center and her understanding of the role we could play in extending the reach of the Kansas State Department of Education to build the capacity of its employees to engage districts and schools in the implementation of ESEA most effectively.  We are thankful for her leadership and vision as part of the effort to close the achievement gap for all our students in the state of Kansas.  Aho, Diane!"