After a five-month search that drew two dozen applicants, Massachusetts college and university overseers chose former Pennsylvania Education Secretary Noe Ortega as their pick to be the Bay State's next higher education commissioner.
The Board of Higher Education selected Ortega, who is also a former University of Michigan official and spent almost a decade working in Texas, from a pool of four finalists less than a week after interviewing the quartet.
Eight board members on Tuesday voted to recommend Ortega, one short of the amount required, and four voted in favor of Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn. On a motion of member Paul Toner, who backed Glenn, the board then voted unanimously for Ortega in a show of support.
Education Secretary Jim Peyser, who cast his vote for Ortega, will now be tasked with formally confirming the next higher education commissioner.
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Ortega served as Pennsylvania's education secretary for about two years before stepping down in April. He is in line to succeed Carlos Santiago, who in January announced plans to depart.
BHE Chair Chris Gabrieli said Tuesday that Santiago will remain in his position "until we're fully ready for that next leg of leadership."