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May 9, 2018

State Board of Education President Mike Kirst announces he'll retire — and reflects on changes he has led

Emeritus Professor Michael Kirst plans to retire as president of the California State Board of Education.


State Board of Education President Michael Kirst, whom Jerry Brown brought into state government after his election to a first term as governor 44 years ago, will go out with Brown when he retires later this year.

Brown’s contemporary at age 78, Kirst has been the governor’s chief education advisor for four decades and his choice as president of the state board for Brown’s four terms in office. He ended several months of speculation Wednesday when he announced that he would not seek a fifth term under a new governor.

Brown had renominated Kirst and board members Patricia Rucker and Ting Sun to another 4-year term earlier this year. But with Senate hearings coming up this summer, Kirst was pressed to decide this month whether to retire. He had considered the benefit of sharing his knowledge from decades of policy work with the next administration, but in the end decided against it.

“Governor Brown and I have enjoyed a unique and rare working relationship,” he said in a short prepared statement at the state board meeting on Wednesday. “We’ll have a new governor in 2019 and I will not share that same relationship with him or her. I couldn’t unless we had somehow met in 1974 and begun working together then. And so it feels right to leave the board simultaneously” with Brown. He said he would continue to participate in education policy and to continue writing.

Read the full article about Kirst's service in EdSource here.

Hear Kirst’s 50-minute lecture about his career on April, 16, 2018 to the American Educational Research Association, followed by a half-hour of questions, here.


Brooke Donald, Director of Communications, Stanford Graduate School of Education: 650-721-402,


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