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The Texas State Board of Education has nominated Lionel Meno, deputy commissioner of elementary and secondary education in New York State, to be the state's next education commissioner.

Mr. Meno won the job over three other candidates, including two Texas educators.

If Mr. Meno's nomination is confirmed by the state Senate, he will succeed Commissioner W.N. Kirby, who retired last month.

He would take command of a system with a $14-billion annual budget. The state legislature has an April 1 deadline from the state Supreme Court to revise its method of funding schools statewide.

The board will set Mr. Meno's salary and terms of employment after the confirmation hearings.

Patricia Albjerg Graham, the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Charles Warren Professor of the History of Education, is stepping down from the deanship to head the Spencer Foundation in Chicago.

Ms. Graham, who served as dean for nine years, was also director of the now-defunct National Institute of Education from 1977 to 1979.

She will take up her new duties Sept. 15. She will remain a Harvard professor and will teach there part time.

J. Troy Earhart, Rhode Island's commissioner of elementary and secondary education since 1983, has announced that he will retire Sept. 1, two years before his contract expires.

Mr. Earhart, 57, said he wanted to give newly elected Gov. Bruce G. Sundlun and his appointees to the board of regents the opportunity to choose a new state chief.

Before taking the Rhode Island job, Mr. Earhart was superintendent of the Foxboro, Mass., schools for 10 years.

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