Second Missouri state agency leader in two weeks announces departure

Mike Parson
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks after being sworn in as the state’s 57th governor following the resignation of Eric Greitens Friday, June 1, 2018, in Jefferson City, Mo. Parson moved from lieutenant governor to governor after Greitens stepped down Friday amid investigations of his political and personal life.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Second Missouri state agency leader in two weeks announces departure

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(The Center Square) – A second leader of a state department in Missouri announced their departure, leaving vacancies for Republican Gov. Mike Parson to fill during his final year in office.

Anne Precythe, director of the Department of Corrections, announced her resignation on Wednesday, effective Dec. 5. An interim director of the department will be announced in the coming days, according to a media release from Parson’s office.

On Oct. 17, Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven announced her resignation effective on July 1, 2024.

Precythe started her position in Missouri in 2017 after retiring at the conclusion of a 30-year career in the North Carolina Division of Community Corrections. In Missouri, Precythe oversaw 19 adult correctional facilities, six community supervision centers, two transition centers and more than 40 probation and parole districts. She plans to return to North Carolina for retirement.

“Director Precythe has been a great leader, colleague and champion in state government, and we wish her the absolute best,” Parson said in a statement. “As we set out to transform and improve the culture across state government, Anne was there every step of the way. Under Anne’s leadership, not only have DOC staff turnover rates decreased but they’ve reversed, and we’ve witnessed a renewed sense of pride in public service among team members.”

Vandeven started her tenure as commissioner in 2015. New members of the State Board of Education, appointed by former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, voted 5-3 to remove Vandeven in 2017. Greitens resigned in the wake of a scandal in 2018 and Vandeven was rehired by the board later that year.

“Margie has been a true champion for public education and a steadfast leader throughout her tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,” Parson said. “During COVID, Margie kept a level head and successfully led Missouri schools through a global pandemic. Margie will be missed, but my team and I wish her the best. We are grateful for her commitment and dedication to our Missouri administrators, teachers, students and parents.”

Vandeven announced her resignation in October to give the board several months to complete the process of finding the next commissioner.

“Commissioner Vandeven has led the department through unprecedented events and challenging times, but her focus has never wavered — she always works to do what’s best for students,” said State Board of Education President Charlie Shields, who voted against her termination and voted to rehire her in 2018. “Missouri is better because of Margie’s service to our state, and I know stakeholders across the state will join me in thanking her for her commitment.”

Shields was appointed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in 2012. His term expired in July 2020, and he’s serving at the pleasure of the governor until a replacement is named. The terms of four of the eight members of the board have expired and another member’s term expires July 1, 2024.

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