Woolstenhulme steps down, interim commissioner in place at Utah Board of Education

Sep 14, 2023, 1:03 PM | Updated: 1:04 pm

Image of David Woolstenhulme, the former Commissioner of Utah's Higher Education System, who abrupt...

David Woolstenhulme was appointed as interim commissioner of higher education by the Utah State Board of Regents Friday, May 17, 2019. He abruptly resigned during an emergency meeting of the Board on Sept. 13, 2023. (Utah State University)

(Utah State University)

SALT LAKE CITY — Applications are open for the top job in Utah’s system of higher education after the state commissioner stepped down on Wednesday.

Dave Woolstenhulme has served in the position since 2019, providing oversight when Utah’s eight technical colleges merged with the state’s eight public colleges and universities under the Utah System of Higher Education.

The state’s board of higher education announced Woolstenhulme’s departure in an emergency meeting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. An “emergency meeting” is the state’s legal terminology for an unscheduled session that is announced just 24 hours in advance. The next scheduled meeting is in November.

Part of that meeting was closed to the public while board members discussed “the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual” they would not name.

Then, board members voted unanimously to appoint former Board Secretary Geoffrey Landward to the interim position.

“I want to announce that Commissioner Dave Woolstenhulme has resigned as Commissioner of the Office of Higher Education to pursue other professional opportunities,” said Board Chair Amanda Covington. “We thank him for his service.”

Woolstenhulme was appointed interim commissioner just before COVID-19 caused statewide shutdowns at universities, colleges, and K-12 schools. His profile has been wiped from the State Board’s website.

A national search has begun for his replacement.

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Woolstenhulme steps down, interim commissioner in place at Utah Board of Education