Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott announced this afternoon that the state education secretary is leaving his state post for a job in related advocacy work.

A statement from the governor said Vermont Agency of Education leader Dan French will leave his job next month for a senior leadership position with the Council of Chief State School Officers. The group — made up of senior public education advocates across the country — advocates “for students participating in our public education system — regardless of background — [to] graduate prepared for college, careers, and life.”

Deputy Education Secretary Heather Bouchey will serve as interim secretary upon French’s departure.

Scott said French has been “a critical member of my team for over four years, leading the Agency through unimaginable challenges in the wake of the pandemic.”

“I could always count on Dan to provide sound advice, putting the needs of students, parents and educators at the forefront. He has dedicated his life to public service, first in the U.S. Army, then as an educator and as a public school administrator,” Scott said in the statement. “I’m confident he will excel in his new role, bringing his experienced leadership to the national level.”

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

French, meanwhile, called his state service an honor.

“It has been a privilege to serve as secretary of education for a governor who is deeply committed to the future success of all of our students. I am incredibly grateful to have served with such a hardworking team at [the Agency of Education], and for having the opportunity to work with Vermont educators.”

French has served Vermont and its students as a high school social studies teacher, then a K through 12 principal. He served for more than a decade as a superintendent in Canaan and then subsequently for the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union, from 2007 to 2016. Past president of the Vermont Superintendents Association, French also earned Superintendent of the Year honors in 2009.

French was a leader during Vermont’s internationally recognized response to COVID-19, serving on the leadership team of the governor’s pandemic response task force. He has served as secretary of the Agency of Education since 2018.