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Meeting Florida's New Education Commissioner

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Florida Department of Education Biography On Commissioner

Mrs. Pam Stewart brings a broad range of educational experience and perspective to her role as Commissioner for the Florida Department of Education.

Commissioner Stewart began teaching in Hillsborough County in 1975 before moving to Marion County where she spent 25 years in education. She rose from Ward-Highlands Elementary School teacher in 1981 to guidance counselor then district testing and research specialist, assistant principal, then principal, first at Reddick-Collier Elementary in 1996 and then at Vanguard High School in 2000.

In 2004, she was named Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality at the Florida Department of Education. She served in that position until 2009 when she moved to the St. Johns County School District to become Deputy Superintendent for Academic Services overseeing curriculum, learning, planning and accountability, federal programs, instructional materials, leadership training and exceptional student education.

She returned to the department in 2011 as Chancellor of Public Schools. She oversaw K-12 student achievement; curriculum, instruction, and student services; school improvement; and educator quality. She also oversaw the management and delivery of such affiliate programs as K-12 Race to the Top projects, Just Read, Florida!, the Office of Early Learning, and Florida's Virtual Education Program. These areas and programs provide support for Florida's PreK-12 education system, which serves more than 2.7 million students and 192,000 educators.

Commissioner Stewart holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education/Early Childhood from the University of South Florida and a Master of Education in Counselor Education from the University of Central Florida. Postgraduate coursework at Stetson University earned Stewart her certification in educational leadership.


Associated Press Release

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's new education commissioner is Pam Stewart.

The Florida State Board of Education voted Tuesday to hire Stewart as the permanent successor to Tony Bennett. Bennett abruptly resigned from the job in August.

Stewart, 60, has been interim commissioner. The board decided to hire her for the permanent job instead of launching a national search.

Florida's education system has had a tumultuous summer dealing with both the resignation of Bennett and continued controversy over its A-to-F grading system and the transition to new standards.

But board members said they decided to hire Stewart because she knows Florida's system and is a supporter of Common Core State Standards.

Stewart becomes the fourth commissioner to serve under Scott since he took office in 2011.


Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida is ready to move quickly to find a permanent successor to former Education Commissioner Tony Bennett.

The state board that oversees education is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to hire interim commissioner Pam Stewart for the job instead of launching a national search.

State Board of Education member John Colon said that it would be beneficial to continue with someone experienced with Florida schools. He noted that Stewart has previously served as interim commissioner and has a proven track record.

Stewart started her career as a teacher in Hillsborough County. She later became chancellor of public schools. She was named interim commissioner last month after Bennett abruptly resigned.

Florida's education system has had a tumultuous summer amid complaints over standards and the school grading system.


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