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One finalist for Michigan’s top education job is out, which means another will enter the race

One of the three finalists for Michigan’s state superintendent’s job has been selected for the top job elsewhere — in Boston.

Brenda Cassellius, the former commissioner of education in Minnesota, was selected to lead Boston Public Schools on Wednesday night, according to news reports. Cassellius, interviewed Thursday morning on a Boston radio program, said she plans to accept the job. 

Last week, the State Board of Education chose Cassellius and two Michigan superintendents — Michael Rice of Kalamazoo Public Schools and Jeanice Swift of Ann Arbor Public Schools — as finalists. Cassellius notified the board’s search firm Wednesday night that she was withdrawing from consideration for the Michigan job, said Martin Ackley, a spokesman for the state board and the Michigan Department of Education.

Her exit from the Michigan superintendent’s race means another finalist will enter the ring for Michigan’s top education job. Michigan’s state education board said last week that if Cassellius drops out of the running, Randy Liepa, the superintendent of the Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency, would be invited for a second interview. Ackley said Liepa accepted the invitation Thursday morning.

Cassellius said in a statement in the Boston Herald, that she is “humbled and honored to join the students, parents, educators and school leaders who are the heart of Boston Public Schools.”

She added: “There is no more worthy work than creating an equitable and excellent education for every child in every neighborhood and every school in Boston. I can’t wait to get to work and make Boston home,” she said.

Liepa was one of the five candidates who interviewed for the job last week, but he missed the finalist cut.

The Michigan education board will hold a final round of interviews with finalists during a meeting that begins at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.