Rhode Island names new higher education commissioner

WARWICK (AP) A top administrator for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System has been named Rhode Island’s new commissioner of postsecondary education.

Shannon Gilkey was unanimously approved Wednesday at a joint meeting of the state Council on Postsecondary Education and the state Board of Education.

The commissioner’s job is to work with the presidents of the Community College of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College on proposed new programs, departments, divisions, and courses of study.

“I’m humbled to serve,” Gilkey tweeted. “More than ever we need public higher ed, accessible to all educate a more informed, tolerant citizenry prepared to compete in the workforce and drive our economy.”

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Gilkey is currently the vice chancellor of academics and workforce development at the 16-school Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Murray State University, master’s degrees from Columbia and Oxford universities, and a doctorate from Western Kentucky University.

“Dr. Gilkey stood out not only because of his past experience but importantly because of his vision for Rhode Island,” Tim DelGiudice, chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said in a statement.

Gilkey’s start date is Feb. 1.