Desjardin Appointed as Acting Education Commissioner

December 29, 2014

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 29, 2014
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

Desjardin Appointed as Acting Education Commissioner

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that Tom Desjardin will serve as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education. Since 2013, Desjardin has served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Governor LePage in the areas of Education and Natural Resources.

Desjardin replaces former Commissioner James Rier, who is on extended medical leave and may return to the department in 2015. Commissioner Rier is recovering at home in Topsham and is in good spirits. He may return to the Department next year as Deputy Commissioner at his discretion.

Desjardin will serve as Acting Commissioner pending a confirmation process with the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and the State Senate. He will also continue to carry out his duties in the Office of the Governor. Prior to joining the Office of the Governor, Desjardin worked for 11 years as the historian in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The Legislature is expected to set a confirmation date in the coming days.


Desjardin earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Florida State University and a Ph.D. in U.S. History at the University of Maine at Orono.

An 11th-generation Mainer, he was educated in Maine’s public school system and is a graduate of Edward Little High School in Auburn. Desjardin has taught classes at four different colleges and universities, including the University of Maine at Augusta and Bowdoin College. He also served as a fellow at the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City.

Desjardin has written several books on the Civil War with an emphasis on Maine History and Gettysburg, two of which were nominated for the prestigious Lincoln Prize.