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DOE's Stewart Ready To Let Bennett Lead

Florida is getting a new education commissioner in the next few weeks and the woman who has been holding down the position in the meantime says she’s ready to step out of the spotlight.

Before stepping in to fill the gap left by former education commissioner Gerard Robinson, Pam Stewart was the state’s K-12 education chancellor. When she as appointed as interim education commissioner many thought that she would be a shoe-in for the permanent position. But Stewart didn’t apply for the job. And it went instead to Indiana’s former education head Tony Bennett. Stewart says she’s ready to get back to her old position as Chancellor:

“I look forward to Dr. Bennett’s arrival," she said.

"I think what I was able to do was,  in a time when we when we could, provide stability and keep us moving forward and keep us on track, and I think he’ll be able to take it from here and do very well.”   

Stewart was praised by both Governor Rick Scott and the teachers union, two sides that normally don’t see eye-to-eye. She navigated the department through the rocky release of new teacher evaluations and through a controversial release of a plan to set achievement goals for students based on race. Stewart’s last day as interim commissioner is January 14, also Bennett’s expected start date.

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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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