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Posted on: December 12, 2017

Governor Brownback announces new Executive Director of Business and Education Innovation


TOPEKA-- Governor Sam Brownback on Tuesday announced the appointment of Dr. Diane M. DeBacker as Executive Director of Business and Education Innovation at the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Dr. DeBacker is a former State of Kansas Education Commissioner, and most recently held the position of Director of Education Research with RTI International. In that role, she was responsible for developing and fostering partnerships and research alliances with K-12 education leaders and key education policy organizations at all levels to identify education priorities for applied research and technical assistance.

“Dr. DeBacker will help bridge the gap between the demands of the private sector in Kansas and the way our students are educated in Kansas,” Governor Brownback said. “We want our students to be equipped to jump in and fill the needs of the modern changing economy.”

Having worked in the education field since graduating from Emporia State University in 1982 with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Education, Dr. DeBacker obtained her Doctorate of Educational Administration and Leadership from Kansas State University in 2002.

“I am excited to have Dr. DeBacker joining our team and I know she will excel in her new role” said Lt. Governor Colyer. “One of my highest priorities is ensuring that we are training students to fill in-demand jobs here in Kansas. Having Dr. DeBacker in this very important position will enhance the lines of communication between the governor’s office, our education institutions and industry, and guarantee that our students have the skills Kansas employers are looking for. Dr. DeBacker’s impressive track record combined with her years of experience in all aspects of education, make her ideally suited for the task at hand.”

During her 35 years of experience in the education field, Dr. DeBacker has served in a variety of roles across the education spectrum including as an adjunct professor, principal, associate superintendent, in addition to her service for four years as the Commissioner of Education for the State of Kansas.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the students of Kansas as Executive Director of Business and Education Innovation,” said Dr. DeBacker. “If our state is going to remain competitive in the ever-changing 21st century economy, then we must develop innovative ways to ensure that we are equipping our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed right here in Kansas.”

Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson said, “Dr. DeBacker has extensive experience with Kansas education and has demonstrated her commitment to Kansas students through her work. By addressing workforce education demands, she will be an important asset as the State Board of Education works to reach its vision of leading the world in the success of each student.”

Dr. DeBacker’s experience in education is internationally recognized. She served as Acting Director of the P-12 Sector in the Dubai education system and was a senior advisor to the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council. In that role, she was responsible for implementing global best practices in curriculum design, instruction, assessment, special education, policy, and teacher standards and licensure.


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