Robinson not worried about critics, wants to listen, learn and lead
The Florida Board of Education wrapped its interviews for its new education commissioner with Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson, who pledged not to be the kind of leader who moves into Florida with his own agenda.
Robinson told the board that his past experiences demonstrate he's a listener, but that when the time comes to make a decision he will do so and them move ahead with it. He will try to work with "stakeholders," he said, but won't be held back by the "stake holders" who try to stymie progress.
"There is nothing new under the sun," Robinson said. "I am not arriving with new ideas but trying to identify what works and what doesn't work."
He was the only out-of-state candidate asked the question.
Board member Gary Chartrand asked about Robinson's lack of experience running large organizations. Robinson responded that he would plan to have a strong chief of staff and other leaders around him, so he could focus on supporting the strategies and initiatives of the board and governor.
Robinson also stressed several times that the commissioner alone cannot improve anything. Partnerships are key, and all leaders must play a role in the system, he added.
He voiced his support for common core curriculum and Race to the Top, even though Virginia does not participate in either. He also suggested that the state should listen to teachers to see how they would evaluate themselves, and that the state should do a better job in making sure all students are treated equally in their education options.
The board plans to discuss the five candidates on Tuesday morning. Members said they would like to select a new commissioner at that time.