Ellsworth resident William H. Beardsley is leaving his post as deputy education commissioner effective Dec. 23. FILE PHOTO

Beardsley, Maine’s education chief, resigns

ELLSWORTH — Deputy Education Commissioner William H. Beardsley of Ellsworth is resigning effective Dec. 23.

A press release issued by the Governor’s Office said Beardsley was leaving his post for “personal reasons.”

He will be replaced by Robert G. Hasson, who will serve as acting commissioner.

Politics have complicated Beardsley’s brief tenure. LePage named Beardsley acting education commissioner in October 2015, then nominated him for the commissioner’s job.

But LePage withdrew that nomination in February 2016, claiming that Democratic members of the Joint Standing Committee on Education were planning to unanimously oppose Beardsley’s nomination “solely for partisan political games, without regard to his impeccable qualifications.”

Initially, LePage said that he, himself, would serve as education commissioner. Then he appointed deputy education commissioners to do the job without having the submit to legislative approval. Beardsley was the most prominent of these and was the public face of the Maine Department of Education.

“Bill Beardsley is a man of tremendous integrity, intellect and service,” LePage said in the Dec. 14 press release.

“It has been a great asset to the state of Maine that a man of his caliber and experience returned to serve in our administration,” LePage said.

“Over the last year, his leadership has reshaped the Maine Department of Education to ensure every decision is focused on the best interest of students and that children from every corner of the state have access to a high-quality public education,” the Governor said.

“Although his departure is a loss for our administration, we are thankful to Dr. Beardsley for his many contributions. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Beardsley issued the following statement in the release:

“I am honored to have served Governor LePage. He truly cares about all Maine students, from every part of the state, from every walk of life,” Beardsley said. “I have the highest respect for my colleagues in the department and the Governor’s cabinet.

“I have full confidence in Acting Commissioner Bob Hasson, one of Maine’s outstanding educators. It has been a privilege to serve the people of Maine and to leave knowing Maine public education is in good hands.”

Beardsley was previously commissioner of the Maine Department of Conservation until the agency merged with the Department of Agriculture in 2012, creating the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Beardsley served as president and CEO of Husson University for 22 years and also served on and chaired numerous boards, including the Maine Development Foundation, Finance Authority of Maine, Maine Higher Education Council, Maine Independent College Association, Maine Development Foundation and most recently on the Maine State Board of Education and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Council.

Beardsley’s work for the Department of Education followed his service on the State Board of Education from 2012 to 2015.

Beardsley earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Earlham College in Indiana and his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University and completed the Harvard Institute for Educational Management Program.

The American could not reach Beardsley for comment before press time.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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