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Gov. Scott working with Board of Ed on commissioner search

Although the Florida Board of Education is ultimately tasked with finding the state’s new education commissioner, Gov. Rick Scott said he expects the person who gets the job to meet his approval as well.

“To have a successful relationship between the Board of Education and the governor means that they both have to be involved in picking a new commissioner,” Scott said. “And it’s got to be an individual that has the same beliefs that the Board of Education has and the governor has or otherwise it won’t work.”

Scott invited Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand to dinner at the governor’s mansion Wednesday night to talk about the search and other education issues. After dinner, Scott and Chartrand said they had common goals when it comes to selecting the next commissioner.

The Board of Education voted this week to extend the application deadline to Nov. 30 to widen the selection pool. The initial list of 16 candidates was considered lackluster by many observers.

“This is such an important job for the state of Florida, our kids deserve the absolute best commissioner we can find, and we felt it was too tight in time,” Chartrand said.

This week, the president of the state’s teachers union said interim Commissioner Pam Stewart should be considered for the job. Scott also speaks highly of Stewart and doesn’t use the word “interim” when he introduces her at events.

Chartrand said he had “very high regard” for the former K-12 chancellor but wanted to allow the search to run its course.

“I think it’s incumbent upon the board and the process itself to go wide and deep and to look as hard as we can to find the absolute best person,” he said. “We’re not for or against anybody, we just want the best person.”