Carney taps long-serving officials to lead DNREC, Education

Susan Bunting

Shawn M. Garvin

DOVER — Gov.-elect John Carney said Friday Indian River School District Superintendent Susan Bunting will lead the state’s Department of Education.

He also named U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin to head the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

They join prior nominees for the departments of State, Transportation, Correction, Finance, and Technology and Information, as well as the Office of Management and Budget.

Dr. Bunting has been superintendent of the Indian River School District since 2006. She was one of four finalists for the American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year award in 2012.

However, a November audit by the state found the Indian River district “lacked formal policies and procedures for any of their financial processes. Not only did the district lack appropriate oversight and internal controls to prevent and detect financial improprieties, the blind faith placed in the CFO allowed him to create an environment ripe with intimidation tactics, favoritism and nepotism.”

A discrimination lawsuit was also filed against the district and the former chief financial officer, Patrick Miller.

State Auditor Tom Wagner wrote in the report that Dr. Bunting was reimbursed for one “questionable” purchase: Christmas ornaments from the White House Historical Association Museum Shop that cost $478.40.

Despite questions raised by the audit, Gov.-elect Carney expressed confidence in Dr. Bunting.

“Susan is among the most knowledgeable educators in Delaware, and has committed her career to improving public education in our state, and doing what is best for Delaware students,” he said in a statement.

“She will help us refocus the Department of Education as a support agency to help districts keep high-quality teachers in the classroom and better address the needs of their students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I’m confident Susan is the right person for the job.”

Outgoing Gov. Jack Markell has faced criticism over some of his education policies, particularly over increased standardization and centralization. Mark Murphy, who served as secretary from 2012 to 2015, received a vote of no confidence from the state teachers’ union in 2015.

Mr. Garvin was appointed by President Obama in 2009 as administrator of the EPA’s Region III, which includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

He had previously worked as an aide for then-U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and former New Castle County Executive Dennis Greenhouse.

“Protecting our environment, addressing the threat of climate change and cleaning up Delaware’s waterways will be a focus of the next four years, and there is nobody better prepared to lead that work than Shawn,” Gov.-elect Carney said. “Millions of people visit Delaware each year because of our beaches and parks, and Shawn will help us make investments that create new recreational opportunities outside, keep visitors coming back and improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.”

Gov.-elect Carney will be sworn in to office on Jan. 17. He has yet to name his selections to head eight agencies, including the Department of Health & Social Services.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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