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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Quiet farewell for Eric Smith



a4s_ericsmith_03261_168195c.jpegToday marks Eric J. Smith's final day as Florida education commissioner. His most vocal backers say he resigned after getting the cold shoulder from Gov. Rick Scott, who even before taking office notably shunned Smith when appointing an education transition team.

Smith retains his backers, from Florida lawmakers to some (but apparently not enough) members of the State Board of Education that's charged with replacing him.

Many state school chiefs found themselves on the way out over the past year as new governors sought to put in place their own people. Some made tearful statements. Others blasted their ex-bosses while leaving.

Smith is going without comment.

Through a spokesman, Smith said he wouldn't take any interview requests to talk about his views, his departure or his plans. "He expressed a strong interest in keeping everyone’s focus squarely on the future, including the transition to new leadership here at the Department," communications director Tom Butler told the Gradebook.

He's being politic enough to keep all his options open. Expect this Chief for Change to pop up elsewhere, probably soon, and continue to make a mark on national education. We'll let you know when we learn more.

[Last modified: Friday, June 10, 2011 9:01am]


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