Governor LePage appoints Acting Education Commissioner

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has appointed Jim Rier as Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education, effective immediately.

Rier, a native of Machias who now lives in Topsham, has been at Maine DOE for a decade, first as Director of Finance and Operations and most recently as Deputy Commissioner since 2011.

In his tenure at the Department, Acting Commissioner Rier has established himself as the state’s foremost expert in education funding, and has headed reforms to the state’s School Funding Law, Child Development Services and within Maine DOE that have improved operations and increased transparency and accountability to Maine taxpayers.

In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations, he has been responsible for implementation and management of the Essential Programs and Services Funding Model and the 2005 School Funding Law; school audits; all school facilities, transportation and nutrition programs; teacher certification; data management; and State and federal reporting.

“I am pleased to appoint Jim Rier as acting commissioner. With Jim’s expertise in fiscal responsibility and his leadership of improved operations, I am confident the department is in very capable hands,” said Governor LePage.

“It is an honor to serve the people of Maine and I look forward to working with Governor LePage and the talented team at Maine DOE to continue the transformation of our education system so that it serves all Maine students and prepares them for success after they leave our schools,” said Acting Commissioner Rier.

Prior to joining Maine DOE, Acting Commissioner Rier was a Senior Project Engineer at Buick and worked for 25 years as President of Rier Motors Co., a car dealership in his native Machias founded by his father.

Committed to community service, he was on the State Board of Education for two terms during which he led the overhaul of the State’s school construction process and served as Board Chair from 1997 to 2000. He also served on the Board of Directors for Bangor Hydro Electric Co., the Maine Community Foundation, the Regional Medical Center at Lubec and the Washington County Education & Economic Development Alliance, which he chaired.

He has been recognized by the Maine School Superintendents Association, the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education, the Maine Municipal Association and the American Lung Association for his outstanding leadership and service to education in Maine.

Governor LePage will continue to consider candidates for the permanent Commissionership and could introduce his nominee to the Legislature’s Education Committee as early as January 2014.

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