Governor-elect Doug Ducey announced on Thursday a controversial move on the education front that will be perceived by many as a slap at newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. Included in his new subcommittee on education is divisive former educator Lisa Graham Keegan.
Keegan, who endorsed Douglas’ democrat challenger in the general election is joined on the subcommittee by Matthew Ladner, and Erik Twist.
Ducey claimed in the announcement that he was looking “forward to working with the education professionals on this committee to identify the best policies to improve our schools, find the most talented people to assume key positions in my administration and ensure we are putting Arizona students, teachers and parents first.”
Keegan, a Common Core proponent, attacked Douglas during the election saying that she was “promoting a sort of a paranoia,” through her opposition to the federal standards. Keegan called Douglas’ efforts to kill the widely unpopular Common Core “destructive.”
Keegan served as Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1995 to 2001. Prior to her appointment as the state’s education chief, she was elected to Arizona’s House of Representatives, where she chaired the Education Committee.
Ladner, has worked closely with one of the staunchest Common Core advocates in the country, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. According to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, “Ladner received a 2011 Bunkum Award from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder for the research he has published while working as a senior policy and research advisor at Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, a nonprofit whose mission is to encourage Florida-style education reform in other states.”
Ladner previously served as Vice President of Research and Goldwater Institute. Prior to joining Goldwater, Ladner was director of state projects at the Alliance for School Choice. Ladner is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received both a Masters and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Houston. Ladner is a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for Educational Choice and the Goldwater Institute.
Before becoming Vice President at Great Hearts Academies overseeing all of their K-5 academies across the Valley, Erik Twist worked for BASIS Schools as the Assistant Principal of BASIS Scottsdale. He received his B.A. from Trinity University and his masters from Oxford University. Erik is a third generation Arizonan and he and his wife, Allison, have six sons and live in north Phoenix.