William Beardsley, a former Maine conservation commissioner and president of Husson University, has been named acting commissioner of the state Department of Education.

Beardsley, who has been a member of the State Board of Education since 2012, replaces the previous acting education commissioner, Tom Desjardin, who recently seriously injured his back. Desjardin is now deputy commissioner, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“Bill has a strong track record in Maine and elsewhere, broad constituency support and a personal interest in education,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a statement Friday announcing his appointment of Beardsley. “Bill has contributed greatly to the administration already and we are fortunate to have his support again.”

Beardsley is the third acting education commissioner during the LePage administration since Commissioner Stephen Bowen stepped down in August 2013. Desjardin was named in April after the retirement of former acting Commissioner Jim Rier.

Beardsley was president of Husson University from 1987 to 2010. He served as commissioner of the Department of Conservation from 2011 to 2012, when the agency merged with the Department of Agriculture, creating the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

LePage appointed Beardsley to the State Board of Education in 2012 and to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Council in 2015.

Beardsley will continue to work with both groups while serving as acting commissioner, officials said.

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