Missouri starts search for next top education official

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The search for Missouri's next top education official has started.

The State Board of Education will begin accepting applications for education commissioner Friday. Board members on Thursday voted 5-3 to cut off applications Jan. 8, the day before their next meeting.

The board fired former commissioner Margie Vandeven earlier this month. Most members now are appointees of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who wanted Vandeven replaced.

Ending the application process in early January could give Greitens' new appointees enough time to hire a new commissioner before they're up for Senate confirmation. At least one senator frustrated with Vandeven's firing has said he's ready to block the appointees' confirmations.

When asked Thursday by The Associated Press if he's backing any candidates for the next commissioner, Greitens said that's up to the board.

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