For Immediate Release
November 25, 2008

State Superintendent to Serve on Presidential Transition Task Force

Illinois School Chief to Help Set National Education Priorities

Springfield – Illinois’ State Superintendent of Education Dr. Christopher A. Koch will serve on the Council of Chief State School Officers Presidential Transition Task Force. The task force will identify high priority issues the next U.S. Secretary of Education should address in his/her first 100 days. Dr. Koch will serve alongside seven other state chiefs selected to ensure a geographically and politically diverse group.

“We’re thrilled that Dr. Koch has been asked to have a direct hand in framing the educational priorities for President-Elect Barack Obama’s administration,’’ said Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Jesse Ruiz. “We are happy to be at the table for the important discussions surrounding the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind and other top education issues.”

The task force will hold its first meeting on Dec. 1 at the Council’s office in Washington, D.C. Members will focus on how school chiefs will work together with the next Secretary of Education to: strengthen the state-federal partnership; address key challenges facing the public K-12 education system, including the rising number of schools in need of improvement; and address issues raised by the final Title I regulations under consideration.

’’It’s a great honor to join my peers from around the country on this important task force,’’ Dr. Koch said. ’’I look forward to working with the Obama administration to help prioritize the most pressing educational issues of our state and country to better address the needs of our children.’’

Dr. Koch has been the State Superintendent of Education since December 2006 and has been with ISBE since 1994, serving in a variety of roles, including Chief Education Officer from 2002 to 2003. Prior to his appointment as Interim Superintendent, Dr. Koch served as Assistant Superintendent for Special Education.

Dr. Koch also has experience as a special education teacher. He taught in four states in various settings, including an Outward Bound program, a college preparatory school, a youth detention center, a psychiatric hospital, and a church-sponsored day school. Dr. Koch also administered programs in correctional education and School-to-Work transition at the U.S. Department of Education.

An Illinois native, Dr. Koch is a product of Illinois public schools. He graduated from Brown County High School in Mt. Sterling and from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in Educational Policy and Leadership from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.