Joyce Rankin Joins State Board of Ed

Back in June, I used a precious Friday post to say goodbye to State Board of Education chairwoman Marcia Neal after her eyebrow-raising departure from the board. Last week, a 3rd Congressional District vacancy committee selected Marcia’s replacement: Joyce Rankin of Carbondale.

Today was Joyce’s first day on the job, and I want to take a few minutes to welcome her to the Colorado education scene. That’s not to say that she’ll need much of an introduction to the issues, however. From a Chalkbeat article about her selection for SBOE:

Rankin has a direct line to one legislator — her husband Bob, a House member who represents District 57 in northwestern Colorado. Rep. Rankin is a member of the Joint Budget Committee and has taken an interest in school finance issues.

Rankin has worked as her husband’s legislative aide and indicated that she plans to continue in that role. “I don’t see that’s going to be a problem at all,” she said, adding that her exposure to the legislative process should be an advantage in her board work …

… Inspired by a teacher, Rankin said she decided when she was in 5th grade to go into education. She holds education degrees from Michigan State University and San Jose State University and worked as a teacher and principal in California.

I’ve had the opportunity during my field trips to and from the Capitol to meet both Joyce and her husband. Both struck as smart, friendly, and very familiar with some of the most important issues in Colorado education. Now Joyce will have an opportunity to bring those same talents to SBOE.

The Chalkbeat article describes Joyce as being “diplomatic” about many issues so far, but she’s already voiced strong support for the ideas of thoughtful local control, better consideration of rural school districts, and fresh conversations about accountability and assessment. As for dysfunction on the board, Joyce had a clever Facebook quip ready to go, implying that she’ll put the “fun” back in “dysfunctional.”

Things are certainly going to change on SBOE in the coming months, particularly with the fiery Steve Durham having been unanimously approved as chairman. I don’t know what the board might get up to, but I know Joyce will likely be just fine. I look forward to seeing her in action in the coming months.