Alaska education commissioner leaving role after 6 years

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska state education commissioner Michael Johnson is stepping down from the role he has held for six years on June 30.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office said Johnson announced his decision during a meeting of the state education board on Wednesday.

Under state law, the board appoints a commissioner of the state Department of Education and Early Development, with that person subject to approval by the governor. Johnson began serving as commissioner under the prior administration of Gov. Bill Walker.

Dunleavy had designated Johnson as the lieutenant governor successor – or the state department leader who would become lieutenant governor if that office became vacant. Johnson was confirmed to that role by the state Legislature.

Dunleavy plans to announce a new lieutenant governor successor soon, said Shannon Mason, a Dunleavy spokesperson.

Dunleavy in a statement credited Johnson’s efforts in helping pass legislation emphasizing early learning and aimed at improving reading skills for students.

An email seeking comment was sent to Johnson on Thursday.