After more than 45 years in public education, Kansas Board of Regents president and CEO Andy Tompkins announced Wednesday that he is stepping down.
And in a surprise to state educators, the board at its monthly meeting appointed Blake Flanders, the regents’ vice president of workforce development, to succeed him.
Tompkins, who started as a high school English teacher in 1969, came to the Board of Regents in 2010. He will retire in June.
“We are so grateful for his dedicated service to this board and to the state of Kansas,” regents chairman Kenny Wilk said in a statement.
From 1996 to 2005, Tompkins was commissioner of education for the Kansas Department of Education. He then served as an associate professor at the University of Kansas before going to the Board of Regents, which serves as the governing board of the state’s six universities.
“The board simply could not feel more positive about the job Dr. Tompkins has done,” Wilk’s statement said.
Flanders has been with the Board of Regents since 2008, responsible for aligning higher education in Kansas with the state’s workforce needs.
“His scope of responsibility has included developing a policy agenda for post-secondary technical education, curriculum and program evaluation, system funding, benchmarks and accountability, and the management of federal initiatives,” said a statement by the Board of Regents.
Flanders, a native of Edson, Kan., graduated in 1986 from Kansas State University. He received a doctorate of philosophy in curriculum and instruction in 2004.
Before he came to the regents, Flanders acted as liaison between the board and the Kansas Department of Commerce for three years.