CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead says he will appoint a permanent director of the state Department of Education well before a December deadline.

The Wyoming State Board of Education has recommended three candidates for the governor to choose from.

The three finalists are: Tony Apostle, a retired superintendent of Puyallup Public Schools in Puyallup, Wash.; Richard Crandall, a current state senator in Arizona and past chair of the Arizona Senate and House education committees; and Norman Ridder, a superintendent of the Springfield Public Schools in Springfield, Mo.

Mead and the Legislature enacted a new law this past winter removing the superintendent of public instruction as head of the Education Department. Instead, the department will be administered by a director appointed by the governor, similar to how other state departments are managed.