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Friday, September 7, 2012

Meet Gary Chartrand, never a teacher, never worked in a school, your new chairman of the state board of education

From the Tampa Bay Times, by Jeff Solochek

After two years at the helm, Tampa businesswoman (and former Jeb Bush chief of staff) Kathleen Shanahan on Friday stepped aside as chairwoman of the Florida Board of Education. Jacksonville businessman Gary Chartrand, a Rick Scott appointee, took the job.

Shanahan cited a growing workload of her personal business, as well as the demands of serving as chair, as her reasons.

"I view this as a natural transition in getting ready for the next commissioner," she told her colleagues on the board, who urged her to keep the post. "It's perfect timing for a new chair."

Board members praised Shanahan for her leadership skills, with vice chairman Roberto Martinez stating clearly he would prefer continuity at the top at a time when the state is moving toward Common Core, hiring a new commissioner, negotiating an NCLB waiver and other important matters.

But "if we cannot change your mind," member Sally Bradshaw intoned, "then I will support Gary Chartrand."

Chartrand, who serves as chairman of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, and a director on the board of the KIPP schools in Jacksonville, thanked the board for its confidence in him. He called himself a dedicated education reformer, and pledged to continue in Shanahan's tradition of hard work.

"I know it's a lot of responsibility," Chartrand said. "I'm going to make sure I clear my calendar ... to make sure I put forth the effort that is necessary."

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