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Greitens names another Springfieldian to school board

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Gov. Eric Greitens, who’s appointed and then dismissed four appointees to the Missouri State Board of Education, this morning announced another Springfieldian was selected.

Ahead of a school board meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. this morning, Greitens issued a news release about his selection of Jennifer Edwards, president and co-founder of Decoding Dyslexia Missouri. She’s also a founding board member of the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning.

“I applied to be on the Board of Education because I am worried about the downward trend in student readiness for college and the fact that many kids with special needs are not being properly addressed in public schools,” Edwards said in the release. “Having said that, there are many examples of innovation and success throughout our state. I can point to the district my children attend, Springfield Public Schools.

“Along with many other surrounding districts, they have created innovative programs, such as GO CAPS, which I believe will drive higher student success.”

Greitens’ pick of Edwards came a day after he rescinded his appointment of Joplin chaplain Tim Sumners. Edwards could not be reached for comment by deadline.

Sumners and Springfieldian Melissa Gelner — an Askinosie Chocolate executive who also was removed by Greitens after he appointed her — expressed concerns about the governor’s plan to oust Margie Vandeven as commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. Another Springfield resident, Heidi Crane, declined Greitens’ invitation to serve on the board.

Also this morning, the Missouri Association of School Administrators delivered a letter to Board of Education President Charles Shield prior to the scheduled meeting. In the letter crafted by Duane Martin of EdCounsel LLC, MASA cautioned the board would be in violation of the Sunshine Law if it attempts to seat additional or alternative members during the meeting.

“Just as we do with our school boards, we expect the state Board of Education to strictly abide by the Sunshine Law; not doing so calls into question any potential motives or actions taken during this meeting,” MASA Executive Director Doug Hayter said in a news release.

The vote to fire Vandeven ultimately failed this morning. Edwards voted in favor of terminating the commissioner.

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