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Fla's Interim Ed Chief Gets Nods From Governor and Union Head

The state board continues it's search for Florida's next education commissioner, after board Chairman Gary Chartrand said, "we’re not going to lower our standards here."

Chartrand made that statement right before the board voted to extend the deadline for applications, voicing disappointment with the 16 people who had already applied.

Outside of official discussions on the matter, one name keeps popping up. Pam Stewart.

Right now, Stewart holds the title of "Interim" Commissioner of Education, assuming the post after Gerard Robinson resigned back in August.

According to the Tampa Bay Times "Gradebook" Blog:

"Pam Stewart, formerly the state's deputy chancellor for educator quality, will return to the department as K-12 chancellor, replacing interim chancellor Mike Grego. Stewart left her DOE post in 2009 to become deputy superintendent in St. Johns County."

Stewart returned to the Florida Department of Education earlier this year. She's gotten glowing comments from Governor Rick Scott, whom she traveled with to several stops along his "Education Listening Tour".

Wednesday, she got kudos from one of the state's biggest education players: a teacher's union president.

"I'm impressed with her," said Florida Education Association President Andy Ford, after a meeting with Governor Rick Scott.

But when asked about whether she should drop the "Interim" from her title Ford said, "I'm not going to answer that, because it could be the kiss of death for her. But they're still looking. But I wouldn't be disappointed if she should be named commissioner."

Whether Stewart will apply for the state's top education job is yet to be seen. The State Board of Education will continue to accept applications until Nov. 30. It also kept the door open to extending the search again if it's unhappy with its choices. 

For more news updates, follow Lynn Hatter on twitter @HatterLynn

Follow @HatterLynn

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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