Interim Florida commissioner Stewart applies for Manatee superintendent's job
Incoming Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett has asked Pam Stewart not to leave Department of Education after her time as interim commissioner ends.
But Stewart, who did not apply for the full time top job, has her eyes on a different prize. She's put her name into consideration for Manatee County's vacant superintendent post.
"When I went to St. Johns County in 2009, I did that because it was my intention to pursue being a superintendent," Stewart told the Gradebook on Thursday. "It's always continued to be a goal."
She made that clear to former commissioner Gerard Robinson when he hired her as K-12 chancellor. She reiterated her desire to State Board chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan when asked to step up as interim commissioner.
"I had no intention of being the commissioner," Stewart said. "I love being the chancellor. I think Tony Bennett and I would make a great team. So I am perfectly willing to stay right where I am if things don't work out. ... But I think I am reaching a point in my life where I want to feel the impact more immediately. The closer I get to students, the more I feel that."
Stewart, a University of South Florida graduate, spent the bulk of her career in Marion County schools as a teacher and administrator, including principal positions at both elementary and high schools. "I love the work at the district level," she said. "It's always been my heart."
She's likely to draw strong interest in the field of 28 applicants, which also includes the chief academic officer of DC Public Schools and a recent finalist for the superintendent jobs in Lee and Pinellas counties. The School Board expects to review its top five candidates beginning next week.