Gov. Rick Scott appoints three education leaders to Constitution Revision Commission
Florida's Constitution Revision Commission received another influx of state education leaders Friday with Gov. Rick Scott's announced appointments to the panel, which meets every 20 years.
Scott named education commissioner Pam Stewart, State Board of Education chairwoman Marva Johnson and Florida A&M University trustee Nicole Washington to serve on the group, which will recommend amendments to the state constitution. He also named university Board of Governors chairman Tom Kuntz as an alternate member, if any of his 14 choices cannot complete their term.
"I am incredibly honored today to appoint 14 members from across Florida to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission," Scott said in a release. "These members stood out as exemplary choices for this historic Commission whose diverse backgrounds and experience in education, business and policy will ensure we continue to champion policies that make Florida the best place for families for generations to come."
These members join other well-known education activists on the commission. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga nominated former two-term State Board of Education member Roberto Martinez, and Senate president Joe Negron appointed Foundation for Excellence in Education CEO Patricia Levesque, former Senate president and Okaloosa County superintendent Don Gaetz, and former State Board of Community Colleges member Sherri Plymale.
Here's how Scott described his education-related appointees:
Marva Johnson - Winter Garden: Marva Johnson is an accomplished member of Florida's business community and leader in Florida education. Mrs. Johnson, the Regional Vice President of State Government Affairs for Charter Communications currently serves as the chair of the Florida State Board of Education. Previously, Mrs. Johnson served as a member of the Florida Virtual School Board and Advisory Board for Rollins College's Crummer Center for Leadership Development.
Mrs. Johnson received her Bachelor of Science in business administration from Georgetown University before receiving a Master of Business Administration from Emory University's Goizuetta Business School and a Juris Doctor from the Georgia State University College of Law. In 2014, Mrs. Johnson received the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council's Champion for Digital Equality Award in recognition of her leadership and advocacy in helping bridge the digital divide in education for low-income families.
Pam Stewart - Tallahassee: Florida Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Pam Stewart has dedicated her life to ensuring Florida's students have access to a high quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and achieve their academic and career goals. Commissioner Stewart has served 37 years in education, beginning her career as a school teacher. She spent the first 20 years of her career as a guidance counselor, testing and research specialist, assistant principal and principal at both the elementary and high school levels.
In 2004, she joined the Florida Department of Education's Division of Public Schools as Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality, where her experience in the school environment informed her leadership and resulted in Florida being recognized as a national leader in recruitment, development and performance pay for teachers. Commissioner Stewart served as Deputy Superintendent for Academic Services in St. Johns County, during which time the district was the highest performing district in the state. In 2011, she returned to DOE, and in 2013, the State Board of Education appointed her as Commissioner of Education.
Commissioner Stewart holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education/early childhood from the University of South Florida and a Master of Education in counselor education from the University of Central Florida. She earned her certification in educational leadership at Stetson University.
Nicole Washington - Miami Beach: Nicole Washington is a leader in higher education with more than 10 years of experience teaching, performing educational research and advocating for educational policy. As the State Policy Consultant for the Lumina Foundation she has worked to expand access and success for students in higher education and collaborated with organizations such as the Institute on Higher Education Policy, Education Commission on the States and Jobs for the Future. In Florida, Ms. Washington has served as the Associate Director of Governmental Relations for the State University System Board of Governors, as well as the Budget Director for Education in the Governor's Office of Policy and Budget (OPB).
Ms. Washington is a board member of Florida A&M University, the LeRoy Collins Institute and the Veterans Trust Board. She is also currently a member of Class VII of Connect Florida. Ms. Washington graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Art degree and then attended Mercy College in New York earning a Master of Science in elementary education. Ms. Washington is also a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University where she earned a Master of Art in comparative education.