Pam Stewart has been tapped to head the Florida Department of Education.
Stewart has twice served as interim education commissioner: the first time was last year when Gerard Robinson resigned after a year on the job. Stewart had been considered a favorite to replace Robinson, but she didn’t apply for the job, and it went instead to former Indiana School Superintendent Tony Bennett, who stepped down this summer over a school grading flap in the Hoosier State.
Stewart’s nomination to the post came amid concerns Florida would have a tough time finding a person to take the job, with some education watchers saying the loss of three education commissioners on Governor Rick Scott’s watch might cause top candidates to think twice before considering becoming Florida’s education chief.
Stewart also takes the helm as the department continues to grapple with whether to keep or scrap tests aligned with new student learning goals called Common Core – standards politicians on both sides of the aisle are now calling for the state to reject.