Deputy Superintendent becomes interim Education Commissioner

The Florida Board of Education yesterday selected Deputy St Johns County School Superintendent, Pam Stewart, to be interim education commissioner when Gerard Robinson leaves on August 31.

Board Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan said Stewart, a former teacher, principal and guidance counselor, agreed to perform the role until a new commissioner is selected.

“I talked to her last night while she was traveling up to D.C. for a meeting,” Shanahan said. “Right now, she is not interested in the job on a permanent basis.”

Stewart currently oversees programs for kindergarten through 12th grade; she serves as K-12 Chancellor.

As interim commissioner, she will head the Department of Education including community and state colleges, blind services, vocational rehabilitation and adult education.

The board also voted to seek bids from search firms to find a permanent successor. Shanahan spoke against a suggestion to contract Ray and Associates, the firm used when Robinson was hired.

“We don’t know who else is out there,” Shanahan said. “I’m not saying anything against Ray and Associates but I think we can do a pretty quick Invitation to Negotiate on the vendor’s list and do a quick turnaround.”

Board members indicated the process of hiring a new commissioner could be concluded within 90 days.

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