ISBE selects new state superintendent

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Education has selected a new schools chief.

The board unanimously voted Wednesday to name Anthony “Tony” Smith to replace Superintendent Christopher Koch beginning May 1.

Smith is a former superintendent of schools in Oakland, California. He’s currently director of the nonprofit W. Clement and Jesse V. Stone Foundation in Oak Park.

Board Chairman James Meeks calls Smith a “visionary” who will “move the needle” on education reform.

Board members say Smith was the sole candidate for the job recommended by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Koch was one of the longest-serving state superintendents in the nation. He’s been in the post since 2006 and has overseen changes to testing and teacher evaluations.

The board also approved an $89,000 severance package for Koch.