On April 17, 2018, the Kentucky Board of Education named Dr. Wayne D. Lewis Jr. the interim commissioner of education, and on October 3, 2018 named him Commissioner. Since 2009, Lewis has been a faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies at the University of Kentucky, earning tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor in 2015. He most recently served as the executive director of educational policy and programs with the Kentucky Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development.
Dr. Lewis has more than 15 years of experience in education. His resume includes experience in public school districts, postsecondary institutions, and in state government. He has worked as a classroom teacher, teacher educator, postsecondary faculty member and program administrator at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and as an executive administrator in state government. His education, training, and combination of experiences across the education continuum make him particularly well-suited to lead state-level education policy reform.
In his first seven months leading the Kentucky Department of Education he has led the proposed revision of Kentucky's high school graduation requirements including the development of new state high school assessments; revision of the state's Districts of Innovation (DOI) program; implementation of the state's new school accountability system; development and implementation of a new department strategic plan; reorganization of the department for better alignment with its identified strategic priorities; and the establishment of a new KDE Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness which takes on the work of a recently abolished state agency.
Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, Dr. Lewis served as an appointed advisor to the Kentucky Board of Education, the Education & Workforce Secretary's Designee on Kentucky's Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), and chair of Kentucky's Charter Schools Advisory Council. His published research and writing over the last decade has been in the areas of education policy and politics, school-family-community engagement, and school choice. His research has been at the local, state, and national levels, and has been in American and international contexts.
Commissioner Lewis completed undergraduate studies at Loyola University New Orleans. He earned a master's degree in Urban Studies with a concentration in Public Administration at The University of Akron, completed a post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program in special education at The University of New Orleans, and earned a Ph.D. in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a cognate in Public Administration at North Carolina State University.