Just two months after her contract was renewed for another year, Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart announced Tuesday she’ll leave her post January 8, Rick Scott’s last day as governor. Stewart’s departure clears the way for former Republican State House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran to lead Florida’s K-12 system. FloridaPolitics.com first reported Corcoran was Governor-elect Ron DeSantis’ top pick to be education commissioner. FLA News has confirmed Corcoran’s hiring is imminent.
Stewart has served as education commissioner since 2013. She intended to retire at the end of Gov. Scott’s term but her contract was renewed by the state Board of Education. She acknowledged in her resignation letter DeSantis’ election convinced her to once again retire after a 39 year career in education. “Therefore, I am returning to my original plan of retiring effective Jan. 8,” Stewart said in her resignation letter.
The Board of Education officially hires the Education Commissioner, but relies on the Governor’s recommendation for the post.
“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,” said Marva Johnson, State Board of Education Chair.
Corcoran’s anticipated hiring as education commissioner will likely shake the education establishment and the teacher’s union to its core. Corcoran is a proponent of school choice and in 2017 led the effort to pass “Schools of Hope” which allows for the creation of more charter schools, giving parents and students an opportunity to transfer out of failing public schools. The law was challenged by 13 local school boards, however earlier this year, a circuit judge dismissed the lawsuit.
Corcoran’s soon to be hiring shows Gov.-elect DeSantis intends to fulfill his campaign promise to expand school choice opportunities to kids across the state.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this story.