Kansas education chief taking job in Middle East

Diane Debacker

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker is resigning to become an adviser to the chief education official in a major Middle Eastern city.

DeBacker told the State Board of Education on Wednesday that she will step down May 14. She said she’ll become an adviser to the director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council in the United Arab Emirates.

She said she was recruited for the job.

DeBacker is a 53-year-old Kansas native who joined the State Department of Education in 2003. She was named acting commissioner in 2009. The board then named her commissioner in 2010.

Board members praised her as an innovative leader.

The board named Deputy Commissioner Brad Neuenswander (NOO’-ehn-swahn-dur) as acting commissioner while it conducts a search for DeBacker’s replacement.

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