Oregon education chief Golden to retire after 2 years on job

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nancy Golden, the woman who replaced the controversial Rudy Crew as Oregon's chief education officer, is retiring after just two years on the job.

Gov. Kate Brown announced the move Monday without setting a timeline for naming a permanent replacement. Brown's education adviser, Lindsey Capps, will handle the position on an interim basis.

The chief education officer is charged with overseeing the state's effort to streamline the education system from preschool through college and improve student achievement. Oregon routinely has one of the nation's lowest high school graduation rates.

The Legislature created the chief education officer job four years ago at the request of then-Gov. John Kitzhaber. The goal was to improve coordination in a state education system that has 197 school districts, 17 community college districts and seven public universities.

Kitzhaber introduced Rudy Crew — the former chancellor of New York City schools — as Oregon's first chief education officer in May 2012, describing him as "the right leader at the right time for Oregon."

Crew left after only one year, and he was criticized for spending an unusual amount of time traveling outside Oregon.

Kitzhaber appointed the lower-profile Golden in August 2013. She had been the superintendent of Springfield schools.

"While Nancy's knowledge and inspiring leadership will be missed, she has created an excellent foundation for us to build upon," Brown said in a statement.

The retirement of the 64-year-old Golden is the second major change in Oregon's educational leadership in recent months.

Rob Saxton, another Kitzhaber appointee, announced in April he was leaving his job as head of the public school system.

Brown became governor in February after Kitzhaber resigned amid a conflict-of-interest scandal. Brown has yet to make any radical moves away from Kitzhaber's education agenda.

Kitzhaber wanted his team to improve the system so that every student in the Class of 2025 graduates from high school, and 80 percent of them go on to attain a two- or four-year college degree.

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