TAMPA (CBSMiami/AP) — An Indiana school superintendent who lost his re-election bid was selected as Florida’s new education commissioner.
On Wednesday, The State Board of Education selected Tony Bennett from a slate of three finalists.
The others were Murray State University President Randy Dunn, who once served as state superintendent in Illinois, and Arlington, Va., education consultant Charles Hokanson, a former deputy assistant U.S. secretary of education in President George W. Bush’s administration.
Bennett told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald that if he has a fault it is being passionate, focused and looking to the end result as the only thing that matters when he was asked about his strengths and weaknesses.
“I do forget that the interpersonal touch, the human touch is so vitally important,” Bennett told the paper. “And I would tell you that probably some of my sharpest critics would tell you that sometimes I come off a little impersonal, that I can be a little caustic, and that’s not because I’m a mean spirited person.”
Bennett said his strong suit is carrying out polices that are best for children. In Indiana, those were similar to many that fellow Republicans, starting with former Gov. Jeb Bush, have instituted in Florida such as school grading and accountability and teacher evaluation programs.
The election of Bennett to the job comes despite a letter from parent leaders representing Florida advocacy organizations to Gov. Rick Scott, urging him to reject all three finalists.
Former Commissioner Gerard Robinson resigned in August after only about a year on the job. He cited separation from his family in Virginia where he previously had been secretary of education.
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