Four days after being fired as Missouri’s education commissioner, Margie Vandeven isn’t losing sleep over her future.
She is worried, however, about what the firing means for the political independence of the state Board of Education and the job of the commissioner, who leads the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and oversees an annual budget of nearly $6 billion.
“I, personally, will be all right,” she said. “The emotional side of it is just the bigger picture of what is happening to education in Missouri.”
The state board’s first attempt to fire Vandeven stalled Nov. 21 when it ended in a 4-4 split. In a 5-3 vote Friday, after an 11th-hour change on the board, she was fired without explanation.
As the effort to remove Vandeven became apparent, the Missouri education community rallied. Two lawsuits were filed, one challenging a member’s removal from the board. The other accused the board of violating the Sunshine Law by deciding in closed session, not in public, which board members would vote on Vandeven’s employment.
Asked if she has any words of encouragement for her successor, Vandeven said: “The best advice I got was to listen.”
Read more: Springfield News-Leader