Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has submitted a resignation letter to State Board of Education chairwoman Marva Johnson, notifying that she will be retiring on January 8th. With this resignation, many are speculating that it will make way for former Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran to take over.
In the letter, Stewart explained that her “time as commissioner has been both amazing and challenging. We have reached the highest levels of performance in our colleges through strategic policy decisions, such as instituting performance funding, and through hard work by educators and administrators throughout our system. We have improved completion rates while making college more affordable and accessible to more Floridians. Florida is ranked number one in the country in postsecondary education in large part because of the great work in our Florida College System.”
Stewart also added that “what we accomplished by putting students first in the more than five years I served as commissioner is remarkable. With the support of Governor Rick Scott and many in the Florida Legislature, we adopted new Florida standards and a new statewide assessment that aligned to those more rigorous standards, established cut scores on a more rigorous assessment and streamlined school grades. The State Board took a stand and oversaw significant changes for schools that were underperforming, which resulted in great improvements for the students in those schools.”
Johnson praised Stewart for her work as Education Commissioner and commented that “Governor-elect DeSantis has made it clear he prioritizes high-quality education for every student, and I look forward to working alongside him and our next education commissioner to make sure Florida remains the best place to live, work and receive an education.”
Although Corcoran has not been formally announced as taking over, Stewart asserted in her letter that “there has never been a better time to be a student in Florida, which makes it a good time to hand over the reins so that someone can take our students to the next level of opportunity and success.”