Gov. Mike Beebe has asked Tony Wood, deputy commissioner of the state Education Department, to succeed Tom Kimbrell as commissioner, Talk Business reports. Kimbrell is taking the Bryant superintendent job. Politics could determine how long Wood keeps the job, a fact he acknowledged.

Education Department commissioners serve at the pleasure of the governor, though they are officially hired by the state Board of Education (all currently Beebe appointees).


Wood, 63, came out of retirement, after being Searcy superintendent, to work in the department.

Asked if he would want to continue as education commissioner under the next governor, Wood said he would evaluate that possibility after serving several months in the role and if he were asked to stay.

He said the state’s incoming governor “needs to make a decision in regard to the person that he has trust and a working relationship with. I think that is a governor’s decision to make.