Rene Greer, the state Department of Education’s director of public affairs who oversees media relations and often speaks on behalf of the state agency, is leaving her top post in the public affairs office; Friday is her last day on the job.

Greer was hired in mid-2008 under former state Superintendent Paul Pastorek. In an email informing two Independent staffers of her departure, Greer describes her four-year stint with  DOE as “a remarkable time for education reform in our state.”

“Working in service to the children and families of this state is without question one of the greatest gifts of my life,” she says.

Before joining LDOE, Greer served as interim executive director of the Greater  Baton Rouge Literacy Coalition. She’s also a former chief of staff for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System with almost 20 years of experience in the private sector, including stints with MAPP Construction, AMEDISYS Inc. and the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.

The reason for her departure is still unclear; state Superintendent John White and DOE press secretary Barry Landry were not immediately available for comment.

As Jeremy Alford reports in The Independent’s May 16 cover story, “Money Talks,” Greer was among the highest paid communications specialists of any state agency, including both Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet agencies and elected state offices. With an annual salary of $111,000, she’s one of only five public affairs staffers taking home six figures.

But as Alford also notes in his follow-up column, “Flack Attack,” Greer’s role as the middle man between government and the media is “important to this thing we do.”

“It would be difficult without them … [and] it would certainly be boring.”

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