Louisiana's New Higher Education Commissioner Chosen


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has a new higher education commissioner to oversee policy governing the state's public colleges and more than 200,000 students.

The Board of Regents on Wednesday chose Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, for the position.

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Reed is returning to her home state. The Lake Charles native is a longtime fixture in Louisiana government and higher education . She previously worked as chief of staff at the Board of Regents, as a deputy chief of staff for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and as executive vice president for the University of Louisiana System.

"We're all excited about the leadership she's going to bring to higher education," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "I believe it's the perfect fit."

She enters the job as colleges again are threatened with budget cuts in the upcoming financial year that begins July 1, after reaching standstill funding this year for the first time in a decade.

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Reed talked about the need to increase access to education and training, stabilize financing for campuses and present a "big and bright" vision for higher education.

The Regents board picked Reed over three other finalists for the job.

Joseph Rallo, a retired Air Force colonel who's worked as commissioner since January 2015, plans to retire from the position that pays him $364,000 a year. He agreed to stay until June while his successor was chosen. Before moving to Louisiana, Rallo was the vice chancellor of academic affairs at the Texas Tech University System.

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