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Iowa Senate confirms McKenzie Snow as education director after lengthy debate

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(The Center Square) – The Iowa Senate confirmed McKenzie Snow as director of the Department of Education after a lengthy debate over her qualifications.

Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Snow to the post last July after the resignation of Chad Aldis, who served three months.

Snow served as the Deputy Secretary of Education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and as a New Hampshire Division Director of Academics and Assessment, Special Education, Career Development, Adult Education, Wellness, and Nutrition. Prior to those positions, she served in the White House as a special assistant to the president.

Sen. Molly Donahue, R-Cedar Rapids, said Snow was not qualified to lead what she called one of the most important positions in the state.

“McKenzie Snow has her talents but they are based in policy,” Donahue said. “She would be fantastic addition to the Republican staff working on policy right here at the capitol or even as a lobbyist. Our education system does not need policy innovators but experienced educational leaders who can relate to, understand and directly address the needs of our teachers and students.”

Sen. Jeff Taylor, R-Sioux Center, said he suspects much of the opposition to Snow’s nomination was because of a recent bill passed by the Legislature reforming the state’s Area Education Agencies. House File 2612 gives the Department of Education control over the AEAs. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill last week.

“We have no idea what her (Snow’s) input was on the original proposal that the governor brought forth” Taylor said. “I’m sure she was heavily involved. But we have no idea which particular things came from her ideas, that she agreed with or she didn’t. But I don’t think she deserves the blame for somebody that doesn’t agree with how the AEA reform was rolled out or what it entailed.”

The Senate confirmed snow by a vote of 34-15.

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