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Rhode Island Schools Chief Appointed to Governing Board

Rhode Island Schools Chief Named by Acting U.S. Education Secretary to National Assessment Governing Board, Overseeing The Nation’s Report Card

For Immediate Release: February 19, 2016

(WASHINGTON) – Longtime educator and Rhode Island Commissioner for Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner has been appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board, Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., announced today.

Wagner, appointed in the category of “chief state school officer,” will help set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation's Report Card. NAEP makes objective information on student performance at the national, state, and local levels for nearly a dozen subjects available to policymakers and the public. NAEP has served an important role in evaluating the condition and progress of American education since 1969. The 26-member Governing Board—a group of governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, researchers, business representatives, and members of the general public—determines subjects and content to be tested, sets the achievement levels for reporting, and releases the results to the public.

"It is an honor to be appointed to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board," said Wagner, who will serve on the Board’s reporting and dissemination committee. "As a Board member, I will ensure that Rhode Island educators have a voice in determining the future of next-generation assessment practices and the role assessments will play in supporting great teaching and learning."

Before he was appointed as Rhode Island’s education commissioner for elementary and secondary education in July 2015, Wagner served six years with the New York State Education Department in a variety of roles, including senior deputy commissioner for education policy; associate commissioner for curriculum, assessment, and educational technology; and assistant commissioner for data systems. Wagner’s diverse background can also be seen through his prior work in several New York state school districts as a school psychologist and middle school assistant principal and principal. Wagner earned a Ph.D. in school and clinical psychology from Hofstra University. His appointment to the Governing Board extends through September 30, 2019.

"Ken is a dedicated, innovative, and forward-thinking leader and educator,” said Secretary King. “We look forward to utilizing his incredible talent and expertise in our work to ensure students are prepared to succeed in college, careers, and life."

Wagner takes office as the Governing Board is involved in several initiatives and major activities, including the release of results of the first-ever Technology and Engineering Literacy assessment this spring, a move to computer-based NAEP assessments by 2017, and a comprehensive plan to expand outreach efforts and partnerships to better inform audiences nationwide about NAEP resources and data.

"In his current role, Ken believes in supporting student learning and educator effectiveness through collaborative leadership and stakeholder engagement. That goal, and his rich and diverse background, will truly help this Board spearhead NAEP innovations and maintain it as the gold standard of assessment," said Governing Board Chair Terry Mazany.

More information about the Governing Board can be found at More information about The Nation’s Report Card can be found at

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Stephaan Harris