Today is the first day back on the job for Margie Vandeven as Missouri’s K-12 education commissioner. After a national search, the state Board of Education re-hired her in November.
Vandeven was nominated for her job by an unknown individual. She will oversee a staff of about 1,650 employees and work with 518 public school districts.
The education CEO previously served at the helm until December 2017. Former Gov. Eric Greitens designed a plan to appoint board members until he could find ones who would agree to fire Vandeven.
Greitens strongly criticized what he called education “bureaucrats”. He said too much money goes to administrators and not enough goes to teachers and classrooms. Even though local districts decide the pay for their school employees, Greitens said the problem starts at the top.
The former head of state’s strategy fractured the relationship between Greitens, some state legislators and Missouri education officials. Today turns the page on the education shakeup and begins a new chapter in the instruction of Missouri’s 900,000 public school students.
Roger Dorson, who has served as the interim leader in Vandeven’s absence, says the board made a good choice.
“I’ve known her a long time. She’s a very dedicated person, has the best interest of kids at heart and very enthusiastic. It’s a great hire,” Dorson tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly. “She was doing a great job prior to the unfortunate circumstances that occurred and glad to have her back.”
Dorson, who also sought the permanent post, goes back to his previous role as deputy education commissioner. Dorson says he and Vandeven have worked together for many years. They started at the agency around the same time in 2006.
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