The Missouri Board of Education has received five applications and seven nominations for the education commissioner job. President Charlie Shields says the board has chosen four finalists for the top spot.

Missouri Board of Education considers four finalists for commissioner job

“I can say that all the applications and all the nominations were highly qualified individuals and I think we were grateful for the level of interest that is in the position,” he says.

Last month, the board launched its search for a new education chief. At the time, Shields said members hoped to have a commissioner in place by January.

“I think we’re excited about the opportunities that are before us, the interest in the position and we intend to move forward with all due speed,” Shields says.

The identities of the finalists are unknown.

Since December, the department has been functioning under the direction of interim Commissioner Roger Dorson. He has said he’ll serve as commissioner as long as he’s needed.

Dorson has been serving at the helm since a board made up of several new members were put in place with the suspected intention of firing former Commissioner Margie Vandeven. Those members, who are no longer serving, were appointed by former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

The controversial members attempted to fast track the search for a new education head. The previous posting for the job yielded 10 applicants.

The education leader would oversee a staff of about 1,650 workers. The department is involved in the education of about 900,000 Missouri public school students in 518 districts.

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