The board charged with leading the governor’s statewide education reforms has five vacant seats out of 11, which leaves them without its chairman and vice chairwoman.

The vacancies also leave the State Board of Education with the minimum needed to convene a meeting or vote on anything.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy — who nominates all the members of the board for the legislature to approve or reject — has nominated two people so far for the five vacant slots.

Allan B. Taylor, who has been chairman of the state board for the last eight years, has been nominated by Malloy to remain on the board for four more years, but Taylor is unable to serve while awaiting Senate approval. Hartford resident Andrea Comer has also been nominated. Her employment as an administrator with charter schools has drawn the ire of teachers’ unions.

The large number of vacancies on the board are a result of two sudden departures from the board — board member Ellen Camhi’s sudden death and Ferdinand Risco’s moving to Atlanta for a job. The remaining three spots became vacant after the previous members’ terms expired in February.

A spokesman for Malloy said Monday that no nominations have yet been made for the remaining three vacancies.

While Malloy and the legislature finalize who will make up this new board, Taylor and his vice chairwoman, Theresa Hopkins-Stanton, Monday, got to see the board conduct its business from a new perspective — in the audience.

“It’s the only place to sit if you’re not on the board,” Taylor said after the meeting.

Votes that Taylor and Hopkins-Stanton had to sit out on included approval of new guidelines for teacher preparation colleges and a program for Bridgeport Superintendent Paul Vallas to complete so he is eligible to be the district’s leader.

The state Senate is expected to convene Thursday and could vote on Taylor and Comer’s nominations. It’s unclear whom Malloy will name as the state board’s new chairman, and Taylor would not comment about whether he’s against seeking the post.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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