Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that Dr. William Beardsley will serve as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education. Dr. Beardsley is former president of Husson University and served as commissioner of the Department of Conservation.
“Bill has a strong track record in Maine and elsewhere, broad constituency support and a personal interest in education,” said Governor LePage. “Bill has contributed greatly to the Administration already and we are fortunate to have his support again.”
In writing to staff today, Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin said, “While I had hoped to return to work Monday [from his Sept. 13 accident], when I do, it will be on a limited basis as I still have much healing to conquer…while Acting Deputy Commissioner Rachelle Tome has performed admirably in my absence, my medical condition should not put any further strain on the Department.”
Beardsley will start in that role on Monday which means, Desjardin will return to the role of Deputy Commissioner, concluding his six month period of service as Acting Commissioner as authorized by statute.
Dr. Beardsley brings a wealth of experience in the education arena to the Department. He was president of Husson University for 22 years, and in 2011, Dr. Beardsley was appointed as commissioner of the Department of Conservation until the agency merged with the Department of Agriculture. In 2012, Beardsley was appointed to the state Board of Education and earlier this year appointed to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Council. He will continue to work with both groups.
Rachelle Tome will return to her permanent role as Chief Academic Officer, and Anita Bernhardt will return to her position as Director of the Standards, Instruction and Support team.
Desjardin praised staff, “I commend Rachelle and Anita for their work and continued dedication to doing what is needed for the betterment of Maine’s learners, and I commend my staff for tending to meetings, tasks, and every day business in my absence. Certainly, I will be pleased to return to work when I can, even if it is on a part-time basis. I am also pleased to be able to work alongside our new Acting Commissioner transitioning him into his new the role.”