Broward News

Pam Stewart Named Interim Education Chief -- Again

It looks like Florida's State Board of Education has found itself a replacement for recently resigned education chief Tony Bennett.

At least until they can find a full-time replacement.

And it so happens to be the same person they appointed when the last education chief had to resign.

The Board has appointed Pam Stewart as the temporary replacement.

Stewart currently serves as Chancellor of the education system, has been with the department for several years, and was a finalist to become superintendent of Manatee County schools last year.

This is the second time in a year that Stewart will be Florida's Education Commish.

At this time last year, she was called to replace Gerard Robinson, who resigned after serving for a year after FCAT scores collapsed, and his tenure was involved with a school grades mix-up after the department had to reissue grades for over 200 elementary and middle schools throughout several districts because of discrepancies in the grading system.

Robinson resigned for "family reasons," but his tenure was a complete flop.

Stewart stepped in for about six months before Bennett was hired.

But then Bennett had to resign for his own school grades brouhaha, after allegations popped up that he changed a charter school's grade at his previous job in Indiana to benefit an influential Republican donor.

The board called an emergency meeting a day after Bennett's resignation, and voted unanimously to name Stewart to the position again.

The board is expected to look for a permanent replacement, but has not decided when those discussions will take place.

Here's a thought: Why not just give Stewart the job full-time, since she very obviously is the go-to person when the head guy screws up?

Unless the board is looking for the crappy education chief hat-trick, and wants to hire yet another guy who doesn't know how to handle school grades, which is essentially the entire job description.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph