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State education board names Stewart interim commissioner

Pam Stewart is Florida's interim education commissioner. Again.

Stewart, who had been working as K-12 chancellor, won the unanimous support of the state Board of Education during an emergency conference call Friday. 

Her appointment comes on the heels of Tony Bennett's resignation from the post. Bennett stepped down Thursday amid a grade-fixing flap in Indiana, where he previously served as state superintendent of education.

During the conference call Friday, board member Kathleen Shanahan called for the creation of a "select committee" of lawmakers, superintendents and other stakeholders to examine Florida's education accountability system.  

"While I think Pam is a great interim option for us, we as state board members are responsible for the execution of the accountability system in the state of Florida and it’s a mess," Shanahan said. "But a mess provides an opportunity."

Stewart has been Florida's interim education once before. She held the position for four months after former Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson resigned last August. She did not, however, apply for the permanent gig, which was later given to Bennett.

Read Stewart's bio here. 

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