By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The State Board of Education is close to choosing a new schools chief to succeed retiring superintendent Mike Flanagan.

The eight-member board will publicly interview three finalists Wednesday. A decision may be announced the same day.

The state superintendent runs the state Education Department and is a member of the governor’s cabinet. But he or she is hired by the independently elected board, now controlled by Democrats.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has come under criticism from the board for ordering last week to move the state office charged with turning around low-performing schools to an agency that reports to him.

Finalists to replace Flanagan this summer are Vickie Markavitch, superintendent of Oakland County’s intermediate school district; Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel; and Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston.

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