Brown appoints Sue Burr as state board director

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Sue Burr, veteran Sacramento education official, as the new executive director of the California State Board of Education Thursday and indicated an expansion of the position to also include service as the governor's key education adviser on education policy.

As proposed, Burr will also advise Brown on issues ranging from the state education budget, school construction, teacher credentialing, and early childhood learning.

In an interview, Burr said that her two biggest priorities in education are transitioning into the common core standards, and ensuring that youngsters are receiving quality early childhood education following a recent law that changed the kindergarten age.

Since Brown eliminated the Office of the Secretary of Education, speculation has grown over who would hold his ear on education policy.

Burr, 57, has served as the executive director of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association since 2006. She has also worked as an assistant superintendent at Elk Grove Unified and as undersecretary of education under former Gov. Gray Davis from 1999 to 2000.

Mike Kirst, current state board president who also presided over the board during Brown's first gubernatorial term, stressed the importance of expanding the executive director role since his focus will be on issues only pertaining to the state board.

I believe that this is an unusually important role which spans a lot of policy areas which are in the governor's purview, but not within the purview of the state board," he said.

A spokesman for Brown noted that while the governor will keep several advisors to inform him on education policy, Burr will act as a central liaison between the governor, the state board, and state schools chief Tom Torlakson.

"When the governor eliminated the Office of Secretary of Education - a move which will save the state $2 million - he committed to working closely with both the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction," said Evan Westrup.

"Today's appointment ensures that partnership will be robust, and we'll continue to work collectively and collaboratively to improve education in California," he said.

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