Temporary State DOE Head May Become Florida's Permanent Education Commissioner

Sep 16, 2013

Florida Board of Education officials say they haven’t decided whether to launch a new search to replace ousted Commissioner Tony Bennett, or look to someone in-house to fill the void.

Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart is serving in that capacity for the second time. But the Associated Press cites a sitting board member as saying it would be beneficial to continue with someone experienced with Florida schools as the next full-time commissioner—and Stewart would seem to fit the bill.

Before being appointed “interim” Education Commissioner, Stewart headed the K-12 division at the Florida Department of Education. Before that she was a deputy superintendent in St. Johns County and a Principal in Marion County. Governor Rick Scott has spoken highly of Stewart in the past, and so has the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Florida Education Association.

FEA President Andy Ford couldn’t be reached for comment, but in a statement Ford says Stewart knows Florida and its schools, and that if she is appointed, he hopes she, in his words, “remembers her days in the classroom” when dealing with teachers and state leaders.

The State Board of Education is set to meet September 17.

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