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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

3 With Local Ties Among Finalists For MO Education Commissioner

KSMU archives
Dr. Norm Ridder will end his nine-year tenure as superintendent of Springfield Public Schools on June 30/Photo credit: SPS

The five finalists for Missouri’s commissioner of education includes two area superintendents and former Springfield Public Schools head Dr. Norm Ridder.

Ridder, along with Branson superintendent Dr. Douglas D. Hayter and Joplin’s Dr. C.J. Huff join a two St. Louis area officials on the list.  

Current commissioner Chris Nicastro will retire at the end of the year.

Ridder is currently interim superintendent of the Mehlville school district. He led the Springfield school district for nearly 10 years before retiring this summer. In May, Ridder told KSMU that he accepted the 1-year term with Mehlville because he needed more time to decide on a long-term appointment.

The state’s top education post overseas the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which employs about 1,700 people throughout the state and has a budget of about $5.4 billion.

More than 40 names were submitted in November as nominees for the job. Last Friday, the State Board of Education narrowed that list to five.

"The State Board members are looking for the person who can make Missouri a top 10 state for education by 2020," said Board President Peter Herschend in a news release. "We believe we have a strong list of finalists, and we will find the right person to lead us there."

The board says it will meet next week in Jefferson City to interview the candidates.

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