Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction

This week marked the last committee meetings of the first half of the session, as both chambers scramble to wrap up any bills they want to move forward into the second half of the session. Monday and Tuesday are the last days both chambers can approve a bill if they want it to move forward. The legislature will then take the rest of the week off and return the following Monday.

Appointed State Superintendent Gets Surprising Vote

This Week At The Statehouse: Appointed Superintendent Discussion

Feb 10, 2017

This week, legislators discussed many education bills, including one that would make state superintendent an appointed position and options for replacing the ISTEP. Here are the highlights:

Senate: Appointing The State Superintendent


A bill that would remove Indiana’s top education official as an elected position is progressing through the Statehouse. The bill, authored by Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo) would allow the governor to appoint the superintendent of public instruction starting in 2021.

It passed out of committee Monday on a 5-to-3 vote.

“Ultimately it’s the governor that’s responsible for education,” Buck says. “This just puts all of that responsibility on him or her.”

Indiana Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb wants to create an appointed secretary of education position. In this file photo, Holcomb appears at a campaign event on Aug. 1, 2016. (Brandon J. Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana Governor-elect Eric Holcomb says changing the state’s top education official into an appointed, not elected, position will be one his top priorities during the 2017 legislative session.

Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting

This is a two-part series looking at the candidates for Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

The state superintendent runs the Department of Education and chairs the State Board of Education.


When Democrat incumbent Glenda Ritz first ran for state superintendent in 2012, she was the underdog.

She faced Republican incumbent and school reform advocate Tony Bennett. He praised charter schools, supported the creation of the voucher program and new ways to hold teachers and schools accountable for low test scores.

NYC Department of Education /

There have been plenty of complaints against ISTEP, the state’s standardized education assessment.

The legislature addressed these complaints by saying ISTEP will be gone by 2018, and a group of educators, politicians and other stakeholders will decide what’s next.

StateImpact Indiana’s Claire McInerny reports this committee could address one of the biggest criticisms of the ISTEP: the high stakes.

Ritz Competitor Enters Upcoming Superintendent Race

Jan 28, 2016
Yorktown Community Schools /

A small town school official has announced plans to challenge Democrat Glenda Ritz in her reelection bid for state superintendent in the 2016 general election.

Yorktown Community Schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick has entered the superintendent's race on the Republican side. If elected at the Republican party's state convention in April, she would take on the incumbent Ritz, whose tenure thus far has been marked by political fights with Statehouse Republicans...including Governor Pence.

Republican Candidate Enters State Superintendent Race

Sep 15, 2015
Dawn Wooten /

Republicans have their first candidate for state school superintendent in next year's election.

Dawn Wooten is an adjunct English instructor at IPFW, Indiana Tech and the University of Saint Francis. She accuses Democratic incumbent Glenda Ritz and the Department of Education of failing to reach out to local schools to address concerns about testing, discipline and academic standards.

Noah Coffey /

Senate Democrats Thursday made an unsuccessful attempt to change the makeup of the State Board of Education, as an amendment that would have preserved the state superintendent's role as chair of the State Board of Education was stopped.

In addition to removing Glenda Ritz as automatic chair, the Senate bill changes how members of the State Board are appointed. 

Rather than the governor appointing all members, four would be appointed by the governor, two by the Speaker of the House, and two by the Senate President Pro Tem. 

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

For the second time in a week, a legislative committee has taken a step toward removing State Superintendent Glenda Ritz as chair of the State Board of Education.

The Senate Rules Committee voted 7-4 along political party lines for the bill late Monday which its sponsor, Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) said would help end the friction between the only Democrat holding elective statewide office and a board made up of appointees from Republican governors.