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After Protracted Political Spat, Missouri Rehires Fired State Schools Chief

Former Missouri education commissioner Margie Vandeven, who was fired by by the state's board of education members last year, was rehired last week.

She's one of the first of several new state chiefs who are expected to be appointed in the coming months as newly elected governers and state board members sketch out their education agendas.

Vandeven clashed with former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens over how to handle the expansion of charter schools throughout the state. After being elected in 2017, Greitens began a slow process of appointing state board members he thought would fire her. District administrators and teachers rallied to her side and petitioned to keep her in office, but in December of last year with a majority of the board members having been appointed by Greitens, Vandeven, in a tense meeting, was fired.

But then Greitens himself was ousted in a scandal over an extramarital affair. His replacement, Republican Mike Parson, ended up filling several other vacancies on the state board of education. (For several months, the board didn't have enough members to meet quorum.) 

Last week, after interviewing several applicants, the board decided, in a unanimous vote, to hire Vandeven back to the job.

"I am grateful to the state board of education for entrusting me with the responsibility of serving as Missouri's commissioner of education," Vandeven said, according to the Kansas City Star.  "It is an honor to return to the department, and I remain committed to doing what is best for the children of Missouri."

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