A third member in as many months is leaving Gov. Mary Fallin's Cabinet.
Oklahoma Education Secretary Phyllis Hudecki announced Tuesday she is resigning her gubernatorial Cabinet post. Her resignation takes effect Monday.
Hudecki, who has served on Fallin's Cabinet since the governor took office in January 2011, said she wanted to resume full-time duties as executive director of the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, a group formed in 2000 with the intent to generate more involvement in education by the business community.
Hudecki said she isn't stepping down to run for state schools superintendent or any other public office.
“I am not going to run for public office,” Hudecki said. “I am looking forward to returning to the private sector and working with the business community to improve public education.”
While serving on the Cabinet, Hudecki worked part-time as an executive for the coalition. She said the coalition's board of directors asked her to lead the organization full-time as it prepares a new plan intended to support kindergarten through 12th-grade education professionals and strengthen public schools.
Gary Sherrer resigned late last month as secretary of environment and Michael Ming resigned as energy secretary in May to lead the planned Oklahoma City-area GE Global Research Center. Fallin is consolidating the secretary of environment and energy positions into one cabinet post and Sherrer said he didn't feel like he had the knowledge and expertise to handle both positions.
During her time on the Cabinet, Hudecki is credited with having a key role in helping to design changes aimed at boosting student performance and accountability at public schools. The changes included the creation of an A-to-F grading of public schools and the end of trial de novo, a legal appeals process that made it difficult for school boards to terminate underperforming teachers.
“It has been an honor to serve on Governor Fallin's Cabinet and to play a role in making policy that will improve our schools and help Oklahoma's children for years to come,” Hudecki said. “It's also been satisfying to see a renewed focus on education as one of the most important drivers of economic growth and prosperity.”
Fallin thanked Hudecki for her service and praised her dedication to improving education.
“I appreciate her work to better interface education and training programs with the needs of the business community, something that is absolutely vital to preparing our workforce for the high-skill, high-salary jobs we are trying to bring to Oklahoma,” the governor said.
Before joining the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, Hudecki served as the associate director of the National Center for Research in Vocational Education at the University of California-Berkeley and had positions with the Iowa, Missouri and Massachusetts state education departments as well as the U.S. Education Department.