AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage announced Friday that he has appointed William Beardsley as acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Education.

Beardsley, the former president of Husson University, Maine Department of Conservation commissioner and 2010 gubernatorial candidate, will assume the position immediately.

“Bill has a strong track record in Maine and elsewhere, broad constituency support and a personal interest in education,” said LePage in a written statement. “Bill has contributed greatly to the administration already and we are fortunate to have his support again.”

Beardsley was president of Husson University from 1987 to 2010. In 2011, he was appointed as commissioner of the Department of Conservation until the agency merged with the Department of Agriculture in 2012, creating the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

In 2012, LePage appointed Beardsley to the State Board of Education and earlier this year appointed him to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Council. He will continue to work with both groups.

Tom Desjardin, who has been acting education commissioner since April, will return to his prior role of deputy commissioner. Desjardin is currently on medical leave.

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