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Utah Superintendent of Public Schools Resigns


State School Superintendent Brad Smith resigned yesterday from the Utah State Office of Education. In a letter to state school board chair David Crandall, Smith said he has regrettably come to the conclusion that he is no longer able to make a positive contribution as state superintendent.

David Thomas is the first vice chair of the board. He wouldn’t say why Smith came to that conclusion, but says members of the board were not caught off guard by the decision.

“We’ve appreciated all that Brad has done and the leadership that he’s taken,” Thomas says. “We’ve done a lot of new and innovative things in the last 15 months that he’s been our state superintendent.”

The board voted back in October 2014 for then Ogden School District Superintendent Brad Smith to replace retiring State Superintendent Martell Menlove. It was a narrow vote that divided the body. Smith was known as a controversial figure in the Ogden district for his frank leadership style.

Utah Education Association President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh says the state is in crisis and needs consistent leadership.

“We have a massive teacher shortage in Utah,” Fishbaugh says. “So we have got to work together to build relationships and work collaboratively together UEA, the state board, the local districts, the legislature. And I’m hopeful the next person coming in will be the type of person that can bring stakeholders together to do that work.”


The school board is meeting Thursday to decide how to move forward with selecting a replacement for Smith.  Deputy State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson is serving as acting state superintendent. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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