Margie Vandeven, Missouri’s Education Commissioner, declared on Tuesday that she would be leaving her position at the end of June.
After making her announcement at the State Board of Education meeting, Vandeven informed the media that it was “the right time to move on personally and professionally to a new opportunity [she] hasn’t discovered yet.”
Her departure brings to an end a turbulent career as the state’s top education official.
When then-Gov. Eric Greitens packed the board of educators to force Vandeven from of her position in December 2017, she had been the Missouri’s Education Commissioner since January of 2015.
The board reinstated Vandeven after Greitens was thrown out of office himself the following summer.
Along with the Greitens saga, Vandeven managed the education department’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the change to a new system of standardised testing.
“Margie has been a true champion for public education and a steadfast leader throughout her tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,” Governor Mike Parson said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
“During COVID,” Parson remarked, “Margie maintained composure and successfully guided Missouri schools through a widespread pandemic. My team and I will miss Margie, but we wish her the very best. We appreciate her passion and devotion to the administrators, teachers, students, and parents in Missouri.
Tuesday’s board meeting praised Vandeven’s leadership in the face of “challenges.”
The board’s president, Charlie Shields, claimed that although he has worked with five commissioners, Vandeven has encountered the most difficulties.
He claimed that Margie Vandeven’s difficulties rendered those of the other commissioners “pale in comparison.”
Branson resident and board member Peter Herschend claimed to have served under eight different commissioners. He thinks Vandeven had the finest hope and vision for Missouri’s educational system.
Herschend said, “I hope your successor can do as well.” “You have improved the lives of children. And that’s all that matters in the end.
In his remarks to the board, Vandeven described being Missouri’s Education Commissioner as “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“To be commissioner has meant building relationships with students, parents, educators, elected officials, community and business leaders, other state agencies, colleagues across the nation, board members and 1700 staff members at (the department) and helping them see what is possible when we all work together towards a common goal,” she said.
The Success Ready Students Network, a competency-based learning initiative, and the Blue Ribbon Commission, an organisation that investigates teacher recruitment and retention, are her top goals in her final months as commissioner.
According to Vandeven, one of the most significant occupations today is teaching. “All other workforces are created by the workforce,”
She stated that there must be a solution to the teacher retention and recruiting issue and that she has noticed slow but steady progress.
She informed reporters that even if she does not yet have a job lined up, she would like to continue to be involved in education.
In O’Fallon, Vandeven started her teaching career in the communication arts in 1990. Up until 2005, she worked as a teacher and administrator in Maryland and Missouri before joining the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The board will decide who will succeed Vandeven.