- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s choice to lead the Maine Department of Education is stepping down.

William Beardsley told the state Board of Education at a meeting in Portland that he’s leaving the department next week. LePage said Wednesday the departure was for “personal reasons.”

Beardsley said in a statement that he’s honored to have served LePage and said the governor “truly cares about all Maine students, from every part of the state, from every walk of life.”

LePage withdrew Beardsley’s nomination in February after complaining that the Legislature was “playing politics” with the nomination. Beardsley continued to lead and LePage planned to resubmit the nomination.

The Maine Department of Education hasn’t had a permanent commissioner since Jim Rier left in 2014. Deputy Commissioner Robert Hasson will serve as acting commissioner.

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