Missouri’s Top Education Official Narrowly Survives Removal Attempt

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Minutes after a Springfield dyslexia education advocate joined the state Board of Education, she cast a vote to remove the commissioner of education.The split vote – four for and four against – means Margie Vandeven will stay in her job for now.Jennifer Edwards, well-known in Missouri for her work to increase awareness and help for students with dyslexia, accepted the post Tuesday, shortly before the closed-door meeting.Edwards voted for removal along with board members Eddy Justice, Doug Russell, Sonny Jungmeyer. Board President Charlie Shields, Vice President Vic Lenz, Mike Jones and Claudia Oñate Greim voted against the motion. “I look forward to the focus returning to educating our children,” Vandeven said, in the release.She was one of three representatives from southwest Missouri who participated in the 25-minute meeting.Melissa “Missy” Gelner, of Springfield, and John T. “Tim” Sumners, of Joplin – both recently nominated and then removed from Gov. Eric Greitens – were also part of the discussion, but only Edwards voted.Edwards co-founded Decoding Dyslexia Missouri and opened the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning. She and her husband Steve Edwards, the president and CEO of CoxHealth, have three children enrolled in Springfield Public Schools.Springfield Superintendent John Jungmann was among dozens of superintendents and other educators who showed up at the meeting.”I drove to Jefferson City last night to make sure I could stand up for the 25,000 students of Springfield Public Schools and advocate for an effective commissioner,” he said after the split vote. “I am thankful for the four who stood up for the 900,000 students and know this is likely not over based on the tactics of the last few months.”The state board is expected to meet again Dec. 1.Jungmann, who wrote an open letter to Greitens that was …


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