Florida Board of Education chairmanship changes hands
After two years at the helm, Tampa businesswoman (and former Jeb Bush chief of staff) Kathleen Shanahan on Friday stepped aside as chairwoman of the Florida Board of Education. Jacksonville businessman Gary Chartrand, a Rick Scott appointee, took the job.
Shanahan cited a growing workload of her personal business, as well as the demands of serving as chair, as her reasons.
"I view this as a natural transition in getting ready for the next commissioner," she told her colleagues on the board, who urged her to keep the post. "It's perfect timing for a new chair."
Board members praised Shanahan for her leadership skills, with vice chairman Roberto Martinez stating clearly he would prefer continuity at the top at a time when the state is moving toward Common Core, hiring a new commissioner, negotiating an NCLB waiver and other important matters.
But "if we cannot change your mind," member Sally Bradshaw intoned, "then I will support Gary Chartrand."
Chartrand, who serves as chairman of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, and a director on the board of the KIPP schools in Jacksonville, thanked the board for its confidence in him. He called himself a dedicated education reformer, and pledged to continue in Shanahan's tradition of hard work.
"I know it's a lot of responsibility," Chartrand said. "I'm going to make sure I clear my calendar ... to make sure I put forth the effort that is necessary."
Shanahan's letter to board members follows:
Monday, August 06, 2012
Dear Fellow SBOE Board Members:
After our conference call meeting last week to begin another search for a new commissioner, I reflected on the importance and time necessary to select and transition the next new commissioner to lead Florida’s DOE. As such, I think the time is perfect for the selection of a new SBOE Chair to guide both the process and the transition.
With only a little over a year left on my term of service, I believe the next SBOE Chair working with the Governor and the DOE should be a member with a longer period of time committed to serve as Chair. It is paramount to have continuity of the same Chairperson to guide the search, selection and transition to ensure the best coordinated effort is being put forth to both select, entice and secure the next education commissioner for Florida. Note: I am unaware of any guidelines or policies SBOE has established for expectations of time/term of a chairperson. This is something we should consider in a governance review.
As you each know, my current private sector business, while a Florida based company, currently has active operations in seven additional states, and we continue to grow. My time and travel demands on growing my small business has increased significantly these last six months.
I have appreciated each of your efforts as we have worked together as guardians of this public trust to continue to strive for measured excellence and opportunity for every Florida child in our education systems. I look forward to working with each of you to continue Florida’s progress and leadership on these important impending opportunities: implementation of Common Core standards, new teacher assessments and compensation structure, digital education expansion, continuing our advocacy for the value of accountability and the return to every participant, and lastly, upholding the leadership position Florida has developed in our structural governance system in Pre-K-20 education. It is imperative to continue the reform path we are on and always remember the numbers we evaluate represent the future of the children we serve. Florida’s students deserve to learn on a real time platform with measured results to allow each of them the choice for global success. It is our responsibility to ensure that opportunity for each Florida student.
My plan would be to take this agenda item up at our next convening. The DOE will provide an update soon on the status of previous search firm contract/parameters and timeline. Thank you for your support and appreciation for this recommendation.
Cc: Governor Rick Scott; President Don Gaetz; Speaker Will Weatherford; Commissioner Gerard Robinson; Chancellor Pam Stewart
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
URETEK Holdings, Inc