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April 23, 2003

Pam Bryant
Florida Department of Education
(850) 201-7130

Contact: Kevin Christian
(352) 840-3265

Florida Department of Education Names Marion County Superintendent James Warford as K-12 Chancellor


TALLAHASSEE — Florida Education Commissioner Jim Horne today named Marion County School Superintendent James Warford as Florida's new K-12 Chancellor.

A biosketch (PDF) and photograph of Warford are attached.

"Under Jim Warford's leadership, Marion County Public Schools have seen dramatic increases in student performance," said Horne. "We are fortunate to have someone as dedicated as Jim leading our state's public schools. I look forward to working with him to provide Florida's teachers with the resources and accountability standards they need to afford our children a world class education."

Warford has been successful in implementing new education programs. "Jim's proactive approach to education policies has resulted in tremendous improvement for students in his district," said Gov. Jeb Bush. "He has made Marion County a model for school improvement and brings a wealth of educational experience to the Department of Education."

As Superintendent, Warford led his district from three "F" schools, eight "D" schools and only one "A" school in 1999 to nine "A" schools, 13 "B" schools and no "F" schools in 2002. Prior to his tenure as Superintendent, he taught for 14 years at Vanguard High School in Ocala. Warford has also worked in his family-owned electrical manufacturers representative agency and consulting firm.

"It is a great honor to serve Florida's school children, teachers and school districts in this capacity," said Warford. "I bring a real passion to this position and plan to focus like a laser on reaching Gov. Jeb Bush's goal that every child is reading at grade level. That is the only way they can have access to all the opportunities this great country provides."

As K-12 Chancellor, Warford will oversee the Division of Public Schools which includes such areas as school improvement services, curriculum and instruction, school safety, federal Title I programs and teacher certification. He earned a bachelor's degree in communication from Western Kentucky University and a master's degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

"The educational successes seen in Jim's school district indicate his ability to lead our K-12 public school system," said State Board of Education Chairman Phil Handy. "The Board looks forward to working closely with Jim in every way possible to dramatically raise student achievement in K-12 schools throughout Florida."

Warford currently serves on the board of directors of various organizations, including the United Way of Marion County, the Public Education Foundation of Marion County and the Marion County Economic Development Council.

Warford's wife, Susan, is a teacher in Marion County. They have three children.