School & District Management

Top State Ed. Positions Turn Over as Year Ends

By Andrew Ujifusa — January 08, 2013 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Several top state education jobs changed hands as 2012 came to a close, with Florida welcoming a high-profile chief recently ousted by voters in Indiana, the surprise firing of West Virginia’s superintendent, and the departure of the Massachusetts chief in a state cabinet shake-up.

Florida’s new commissioner, Tony Bennett—one of the nation’s most prominent and most controversial state education chiefs—proved that losing his re-election bid for the Indiana job he first won in 2008 did not put a damper on his career prospects.

Despite a significant fundraising advantage and the energetic backing of groups devoted to revamping teacher evaluations and expanding school choice, Mr. Bennett, a Republican, was defeated by Glenda Ritz, a teacher in the Indianapolis area who criticized what she called excessive testing and the voucher program instituted during Mr. Bennett’s tenure.

On Dec. 12, Mr. Bennett was selected by the Florida board of education as the state’s next education chief, after consistent speculation that he would seek and be a favorite for the job. Gerard Robinson had resigned from the post in August, after about a year. He had previously been Virginia’s state superintendent.

Tony Bennett Florida

High Profile

Mr. Bennett is the president of Chiefs for Change, a group of superintendents who push for school choice, accountability through testing, and revamped teacher evaluations. The group is affiliated with the Tallahassee, Fla.-based Foundation for Excellence in Education, which advocates those same policies and which former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads.

James Phares West Virginia

The state school board praised Mr. Bennett’s work on the Common Core State Standards, among other things. But Andy Ford, the president of the Florida Education Association, the 140,000-member state teachers’ union and an affiliate of both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, blasted the move and specifically criticized Mr. Bennett for adopting the same policies that Mr. Bush touted, including “testing mania.”

Matthew Malone Massachusetts

A report critical of West Virginia’s K-12 bureaucracy appeared to be the undoing of former state schools superintendent Jorea Marple, who was dismissed by the state school board first on Nov. 15 and then on Nov. 29 after concerns arose about the process behind her initial termination. She was replaced by James Phares, a district superintendent in the state.

Ms. Marple took the top job in March 2011 after previously serving as deputy superintendent, but the turning point may have come last January, when, at the direction of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, West Virginia released an “efficiency audit” of the state’s K-12 system, 10 months after Marple became superintendent. The audit criticized the unwieldy education bureaucracy, among other concerns.

Ms. Marple argued that her department was demonstrably increasing expectations for students, and has plans to sue the state school board for damages and to return to her superintendent’s position.

Meanwhile, the top education official in Massachusetts, Secretary of Education S. Paul Reville, departed his position for the final two years of Gov. Deval Patrick’s term. Mr. Reville had overseen the K-12 commissioner, Mitchell D. Chester, as well as the state’s early-child-care and higher education systems. Mr. Reville declined to give a two-year commitment to serve in Mr. Patrick’s cabinet the rest of his term, as the governor had requested.

Bay State Selection

Mr. Reville’s career in education policy included time as chairman of the state’s board of elementary and secondary education, as well as president of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Rennie Center for Research and Education Policy.

His replacement, Matthew Malone, has been a superintendent, principal, and teacher in the Boston area. He is a 2003 graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy, part of the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles, that trains superintendents to run urban public school systems.

A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2013 edition of Education Week as Top State Ed. Positions Turn Over as Year Ends

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Quiz What Do You Know About the Most Influential People in School Districts? Take Our Quiz
Answer 7 questions about the superintendent profession.
1 min read
Image of icons for gender, pay, demographics.
Canva
School & District Management Opinion I Invited My Students to Be the Principal for a Day. Here’s What I Learned
When I felt myself slipping into a springtime slump, this simple activity reminded me of my “why” as an educator.
S. Kambar Khoshaba
4 min read
052024 OPINION Khoshaba PRINCIPAL end the year with positivity
E+/Getty + Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management The Complicated Fight Over Four-Day School Weeks
Missouri lawmakers want to encourage large districts to maintain five-day weeks—even as four-day weeks grow more popular.
7 min read
Calendar 4 day week
iStock/Getty
School & District Management From Our Research Center Principal Salaries: The Gap Between Expectation and Reality
Exclusive survey data indicate a gap between the expectations and the realities of principal pay.
4 min read
A Black woman is standing on a ladder and looking into the distance with binoculars, in the background is an ascending arrow.
iStock/Getty