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A Message from Commissioner Ken Wagner


Education Commissioner Ken Wagner visits Central Falls summer learning program. Photo courtesy of RIDE.

Dear Friends of Education,

I am honored and excited to begin my service as your Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.

My career in public education began when I was elected to the school board of my hometown in New York at the age of 18. I learned early on how important it is to engage and to listen respectfully to classroom teachers. Whether you are introducing new learning standards, turning around struggling schools, or modernizing systems of evaluation and support for teachers, you have to be continually self-reflective, open to feedback and ready to adjust.

My standard for success is simple: Is it helping teachers teach and is it helping children learn? If the answer to both is yes, then I’m good with it. If the answer is no, then we have an obligation to rethink our policies and practice in light of the evidence.

I approach my work with a rigorous commitment to open, honest dialogue with the people who matter the most – the students, families, teachers, and principals – the people on the ground doing the hard work every day that makes learning happen.

I’m deeply optimistic that our collective efforts will pay off for the children and families of Rhode Island, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve.

Ken Wagner