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State Board of Education approves finalist for commissioner

State Board of Education approves finalist for commissioner

Former Arizona legislator and Wyoming schools chief Richard D. Crandall selected from a field of 65 applicants

Richard Crandall, a business owner and former Arizona legislator and Wyoming schools chief, was named today as the single finalist for Colorado’s commissioner of education by the Colorado State Board of Education. 

The announcement is the culmination of a months-long national search for the next commissioner following the retirement of Robert Hammond last June.  Elliott Asp has served as interim commissioner since Hammond’s retirement.

“Richard impressed the entire board with his in-depth knowledge of education policy and demonstrated expertise in bringing together diverse interests to collectively solve complex problems,” said Steve Durham, chairman of the State Board of Education. “I’m confident that he is the right person to lead our state as we continue work to improve achievement for all students and take full advantage of the new opportunities for flexibility and innovation created by the new Every Student Succeeds Act.”

Crandall was selected from a field of 65 candidates, five of whom were interviewed. State law requires a two-week waiting period following the announcement of one or more finalists before the state board can formally appoint or employ the finalist. Crandall is available to begin as commissioner in mid-January.

“Richard will have the benefit of working with department staff members who are nationally recognized for their expertise and innovation around school improvement, educator evaluations, assessments and other complicated policies with which our state is grappling,” said Angelika Schroeder, state board vice chairwoman.  “He is a high-energy, dynamic problem-solver with excellent experience as a policy maker and executive.  I’m confident that working together with the staff and the board he will lead our state toward greater educational achievement for all students.”

A former state legislator in Arizona, Crandall served as chairman of the education committees in both the Arizona Senate and House.  He was elected as an Arizona state senator from 2011-13 and state representative from 2007 - 2010. In addition to being a lawmaker, he served as a school board member and president of Mesa Public Schools, Arizona’s largest school district.

He resigned his senate seat when he was appointed by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead to head up the Wyoming Department of Education in 2013, a position that was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the Wyoming Supreme Court. 

He is currently the president and founder of CN Resource, which provides oversight and audit services of USDA child nutrition programs for state education agencies. He is also the chief financial officer and partner of Crandall Corporate Dietitians, the nation’s largest provider of consulting dietitian services to long-term care and assisted living facilities. 

Crandall, age 48, is studying for a doctorate in education from Northern Arizona University and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Brigham Young University.  He is a licensed school nutrition specialist and a certified public accountant.