TALLAHASSEE – The Florida State Board of Education Wednesday voted to select Dr. Tony Bennett as the next Commissioner of Education.
State Board Chair Gary Chartrand said, “Florida has made a great deal of educational progress over the past decade as yesterday’s announcement of the international assessment results clearly showed. We still have more work to do as we continue our transition to Common Core State Standards and ensure we offer a world-class education to Florida’s students. Tony has had a tremendous impact on education in Indiana and we are delighted to have him lead Florida into the future.”
Governor Scott said, “We are excited that the State Board of Education chose Tony Bennett as Florida’s new Commissioner of Education. Tony has a great record of achievement in Indiana and I am confident he will be a tireless advocate for Florida’s students.
“I am committed to improving Florida’s K-12 education system through continued support for education funding, teachers and students. My College and Career FIRST Agenda focuses on ensuring that Florida families get a quality education for their children to help them get a great job and pursue their dreams, and we are grateful for the leadership of Interim Commissioner Pam Stewart who helped shape this agenda.
“I am holding Tony accountable for driving the College and Career FIRST Agenda forward in support of Florida’s students and teachers. I look forward to working with him on our goals to increase education funding and advocate for the professional development of Florida teachers, which is critical for student success.”
Dr. Bennett said, “I am honored and excited by the opportunity here. I look forward to getting out, visiting schools, and meeting with and listening to students, parents, teachers, and leaders in districts across the state as we work together to ensure that every student in Florida has the kind of world-class education that allows them to flourish.”
Dr. Bennett was elected Superintendent of Indiana’s public schools in 2009, promising to increase student performance, reward great teachers, increase options for parents, and strengthen school autonomy. He was instrumental in increasing the state’s graduation rate beyond 85 percent, implementing the Indiana Growth Model detailing the amount of progress each student has made, and A-F school grades similar to Florida’s grading system.
Dr. Bennett was named 2011 Education Reform Idol by the Fordham Institute and 2010 Government Leader of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Bennett holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in secondary education and a doctorate in education. He began his career in education as a high school biology teacher, while coaching several sports including basketball, baseball and track and field.
Dr. Bennett will replace Chancellor of Public Schools Pam Stewart who has served as the department’s interim commissioner for the past three months.