LePage picks new education commissioner

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage has picked one of his senior policy advisers to lead the Maine Department of Education.

The Republican governor's office said Monday that Tom Desjardin has been named acting commissioner of the department until the Legislature considers his nomination to the post.

Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome has been serving as acting education chief since Commissioner Jim Rier was placed on medical leave earlier this year. LePage's office says that Rier may return to work next year as a deputy commissioner.

Desjardin has worked as a senior policy adviser to the governor on education and natural resources issues since 2013. Before that, he was a historian in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

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