Governor-elect Mike Dunleavy announced Wednesday that he plans to retain Department of Education and Early Development Commissioner Michael Johnson.

“I met with Commissioner Johnson to hear his assessment of where we are, and where we need to go,” Dunleavy said. “We had a healthy discussion about needed improvements, and shifting our focus to getting better results for students. In the end, our priorities aligned and we decided we could work together on changing how we deliver education in this state.”

Though a governor can advocate for a new commissioner, or demand it by replacing the Board, officials close to Dunleavy said the governor-elect plans to work with Johnson to address Alaska's education challenges.

Johnson said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that he was "honored" to remain with the Dunleavy administration.

“I look forward to working with the State Board of Education, Governor Dunleavy, and all Alaskans to make sure every student is prepared for success in higher education, job training, or vocational education," Johnson said. "I value and appreciate the confidence that Governor-elect Dunleavy has placed in me to serve Alaska’s students and their families.”

Sarah Erkmann Ward, a spokeswoman for Dunleavy's transition team, says Johnson is the sixth commissioner named in the new administration so far. A few more commissioners are set to be announced this week, but the full state cabinet likely won't be unveiled before Dunleavy is sworn in Monday in Noorvik.

"We're announcing commissioners as decisions are made rather than being driven by a calendar," Erkmann Ward said in an email.

Johnson is the first commissioner Dunleavy plans to retain from outgoing Gov. Bill Walker's administration.

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