LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has announced her plan to name a new commissioner of the Arkansas Division of Higher Education.
Sanders announced Monday that she will name Dr. Ken Warden to serve in the position. Before the title change, Dr. Maria Markham previously held a position as director, according to the ADHE’s website.
Warden holds numerous degrees, including a Doctorate in Education in Workforce Development from the University of Arkansas. He has worked more than 30 years in higher education.
His work experience spans from adult education, two-year colleges and university systems. Two of those universities include the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and Arkansas Tech University.
Sanders said that Warden’s leadership experience will help Arkansas expand education and help prepare students for the workforce.
“Together, we will continue expanding access to quality education from grade school to higher education – preparing students to take on high-paying jobs in the workforce and unleashing a new era of opportunity for every Arkansan,” Sanders said.
Sanders has put a big focus on changing education in Arkansas. The governor signed the Arkansas LEARNS Act in March, which looks to raise teacher pay, broaden school choice and emphasize literacy in elementary schools.
Arkansas LEARNS has received pushback from some and support from others in the state. The newly-signed act received supported by homeschool families, but has also received criticism by educators and legislators.
Sanders also selected Jacob Oliva to serve as the Division of Elementary & Secondary Education commissioner. Warden said he is looking forward to working closely with Sanders and Oliva in his new role.