Officials say Arkansas' current deputy education commissioner is the top pick to lead the department when Tom Kimbrell steps down next month.
A spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe says the governor is recommending that James "Tony" Wood succeed Kimbrell, who is leaving the agency to become superintendent of the Bryant School District.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state Board of Education hires the education commissioner and the governor confirms the appointment.
Board chairwoman Brenda Gullett says she expects the board will "enthusiastically accept" Beebe's recommendation.
Wood says he has not talked with any of the gubernatorial hopefuls on whether he'd continue to serve as commissioner after Beebe leaves office at the end of the year.