Tom Desjardin has been appointed by Governor Paul R. LePage as Acting Education Commissioner.
Prior to coming to the Maine DOE last month, Desjardin served as the Governor’s Senior Policy Advisor for education, as well as several other key policy areas including natural resources. Before joining the Governor’s team, he spent more than a decade as the historian for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
An 11th generation Mainer and a graduate of Edward Little High School, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Florida State University and has a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Maine at Orono. He has also written several books on the Civil War with an emphasis on Maine history and the Battle of Gettysburg, and he has taught classes at four institutions of higher education, including Bowdoin College and the University of Maine at Augusta.
Desjardin will serve as Acting Commissioner pending a confirmation process in the coming months by the Legislature’s Education Committee and ultimately the full Senate.
Meanwhile, outgoing Commissioner Jim Rier remains out on indefinite medical leave, though he continues to keep in close communication with the Department and may return as Deputy Commissioner in the coming months if he is able. Rachelle Tome, who served as Acting Commissioner in November and December, has resumed her duties as Chief Academic Officer.