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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Is Florida's new governor looking for a new education commissioner?



rhee-wapost.jpgSome Tallahassee insiders tell the Gradebook that members of governor-elect Rick Scott's transition team are quietly asking around for names of possible replacements for Florida education commissioner.

One name is popping up frequently. Care to guess? Did you say Michelle Rhee?

That's right. The controversial former chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools apparently has quite a following in the Sunshine State, where many folks seem to like her brash style and bold ideas. Is this a reach, though? Rhee  is reportedly considering all options at this time.

Another name that has emerged is Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia, another change-minded administrator who seeks similar goals but has a less confrontational approach to leadership than Rhee.

Big asterisk here: Eric J. Smith, the current job holder, has said as recently as September that he has no plans to leave. But just as Charlie Crist angled to drop John Winn, a Jeb Bush ally, Rick Scott might be looking to have a commissioner who wasn't part of the Crist administration.

Of course, it's the State Board of Education that actually hires and fires the commissioner. But Scott already has one member on his transition team and two positions coming up for appointment in December. So nothing is outside the realm of the possible.

What do you think? How does Michelle Rhee strike you as Florida education commissioner? How about MaryEllen Elia? Any other names out there worth considering?

[Last modified: Monday, November 15, 2010 3:24pm]


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