On October 3, Governor John Kitzhaber announced the appointment of Ben Cannon as the executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). The decision came after a unanimous recommendation by a search committee made up of Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden, Blue Mountain Community College President Cam Preus, University of Oregon President Emeritus Dave Frohnmayer, HECC member Tim Nesbitt, and OEIB member and Portland State University Professor Samuel Henry. Cannon has served as the Governor's education policy advisor since September, 2011.
Under legislation passed in 2013 to streamline Oregon's higher education system, the HECC will oversee state resource allocation, policy-setting, and coordination for the entire higher education system, inheriting responsibilities previously held by the State Board of Education for community colleges, the State Board of Higher Education for public universities, and the Oregon Student Access Commission. The executive director will be responsible for supporting the HECC and implementing its directives.
Prior to becoming the Governor's education policy advisor, Cannon served in the Oregon State House of Representatives (2006-2011) and was a middle school teacher at the Arbor School of Arts and Sciences. A Rhodes Scholar, Cannon attended Oregon public schools before earning a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and graduate degrees from Oxford University, England.