Florida officials announced Tuesday that Virginia Education Secretary Gerard Robinson will lead the state’s schools system.
Robinson was chosen by Florida’s State Board of Education from among 26 applicants. Other finalists were: Former New Jersey education commissioner Bret Schundler; Stacia Smith, who heads an education center in Ohio; Florida Career and Adult Education Chancellor Loretta Costin; and Thomas Jandris, vice president and dean of graduate programs at Concordia College in Chicago.
Robinson, who was appointed to Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Cabinet last year, was asked to apply for the Florida job. McDonnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The former Florida education commissioner, Eric Smith, announced his resignation in March, under pressure from Gov. Rick Scott (R). The Florida schools chief carries more power and money than does Virginia’s.
Update, 11:45 a.m.: McDonnell issued a statement: “Gerard Robinson is a national leader in the field of education reform and innovation,’’ he said. “During his time in the commonwealth, Gerard has overseen the successful implementation of our major initiatives that will improve the quality of, and choices provided in, our public schools. Virginia’s schoolchildren will long benefit from Gerard’s service in our administration. I congratulate Gerard on his selection as the next Commissioner of Education in Florida where he will oversee one of the nation’s largest public school systems. I know he is looking forward to this next stage in his career, and that he will continue to be engaged in the national education reform effort.”