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State Board Of Education Names Interim Ed Chief; Search Begins For New Education Commissioner

The Florida Board of Education has named Chancellor Pam Stewart to serve as Interim Education Commissioner until a new one is found. The board also plans to hire a firm to search for a new education commissioner.

“And we can make all suggestions of interest for candidates we’d like them to review to the search firm, they’d then go through the process talking to all of those people and then coming back with a list of candidates to interview."  Board Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan said she wants to get the search process started quickly.

Several board members expressed support for Commissioner Gerard Robinson’s job performance in a year where changes to the state FCAT test resulted in drops in student scores and school grades.

“He managed to handle all the obstacles and problems professionally and has brought  us to a very good place in one short year. And I think we all feel the same way about him and will miss him," said board member Barbara Peterson.

Robinson, a school choice advocate, has been criticized for the way he’s handled the transition but he says he wasn’t forced out of the job. His decision to step down has some public school advocates hoping it may signal a shift in state education policy.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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