Former Region 8 senator named education commissioner

Former Region 8 senator named education commissioner

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Former State Senator Johnny Key of Mountain Home has been named commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education.

The State Board of Education unanimously voted Wednesday to approve Key as commissioner, according to a news release from ADE.

"I am very honored to be selected to serve as Arkansas' next commissioner of education," Key said. "Our children are our most important asset and they deserve our best effort."

Governor Asa Hutchinson had recommended Key for the position.

"Johnny has always exhibited a passion for education, from his work as a legislator who focused on educational issues to his recent post with the University of Arkansas System," Hutchinson said. "We are lucky to have someone with his skill set, demeanor and vision as the next education commissioner. He will do an outstanding job."

Key will start March 26. He replaces Tony Wood, who has served as commissioner since July 1, 2014.

Prior to being named commissioner, Key served as associate vice president for university relations at the University of Arkansas System.

In 1997 Key was elected justice of the peace on the Baxter County Quorum Court. He was later elected to three 2-year terms in the House of Representatives. In 2008 he was elected to the State Senate.

Key graduated Gurdon High School. He and his wife, Shannon, live in Little Rock. They have a son, Ryan, and a daughter, Rachel.

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