Haslam wanted to keep Huffman as education chief

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says he wanted embattled Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to remain in his administration for a second term.

The governor told reporters after a speech to business leaders in Nashville on Friday that Huffman’s departure wasn’t aimed at resetting the debate over Common Core education standards in Tennessee.

Huffman announced Thursday that he had decided to step down but said that heavy scrutiny, and criticism, from some Republicans and teachers groups did not play into his decision.

Haslam said he will cast a wide net to find a successor to work through tough education issues facing the state in the coming years. But he added that a Tennessean candidate would have a built-in advantage by already being familiar with the state’s education picture.