The beleaguered California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has named Elizabeth L. Graybill, a key employee of the Senate Education Committee, as its interim executive director until a permanent chief can be found.
Graybill, who begins her new job Monday, will serve on "loan" from her Senate position as principal consultant for the education committee, a post she has held since 2006.
The Senate's president pro tem, Darrell Steinberg, acted on a whistle-blower complaint last year by requesting a state audit that found flaws in nearly every aspect of the commission's process for investigating and disciplining teachers.
State Auditor Elaine Howle called the commission one of the "worst run" state agencies that she ever had investigated, citing lapses in launching investigations, updating files, gathering facts, tracking cases and revoking credentials. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee is following up on Howle's report with a hearing this morning.
Top leaders of the commission, then-Executive Director Dale Janssen and General Counsel Mary Armstrong, announced their retirements in June after concluding that they could not be effective leaders in the environment created by the blistering audit.
Patty Wohl and Teri Clark, longtime administrative employees of the commission, have served since then as co-executive directors pending selection of an interim leader for the state agency.
Graybill will help lead a wide-ranging effort to correct problems identified by the audit. She will be paid, through an interagency agreement, at the same rate she currently receives from the Legislature -- totaling $49,000 from July 18 through Oct. 31.
"I look forward to helping bring the Commission back on track and to restoring the public trust in the Commission's important work ensuring that educators in our public schools are well-prepared and dedicated to the safety of their students," Graybill said in a written statement.
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, applauded Graybill's appointment, saying that there is a "desperate need for new leadership and a shift to a more professional culture" at the commission.
Under Graybill's leadership, Steinberg said, he is confident that the commission will complete timely investigations and disciplinary action against the very small percentage of teachers who engage in inappropriate or dangerous conduct.
"No less than the safety of our school children is at stake," Steinberg said in a written statement.
Graybill, as principal consultant for the Senate Education Committee, provided policy advice to legislators on teacher preparation, licensing, employment, layoffs, dismissals, charters schools and career technical education.
Graybill previously served as director of the credentialing commission's Professional Services Division, from 2003 to 2006, and as an ex-officio member of the California Postsecondary Education Commission from 1998-2001.
She is a former staff member of the California Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Department of Finance.