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August 10, 2004

Frances Marine or
MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Horne Steps Down
Horne will leave public life to spend more time with his family

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner Jim Horne today announced that he will step down from his post and return to private life at the end of August. Horne, a father of four, plans to spend more time with his family.

"While I recognize what a rare honor it is to be involved with the most significant education reform movement of our time, there is no greater responsibility or higher priority than being a great dad and good husband," said Horne.

Horne was appointed Commissioner of Education in January 2003, after serving as Governor Bush's Secretary of Education during the transition from a series of educational delivery systems to a new seamless, student-centered system, known as K-20.

"Jim Horne and I have long shared a strong commitment to advancing education in the state of Florida," said Governor Bush. "During his time as education Commissioner, Florida has emerged as a national leader in education reform and accountability, and student achievement has continued its steady rise. Jim is not only an experienced public servant with a true passion for Florida's students, he is also a friend and I will miss him."

The Commissioner serves as the chief executive of Florida's education system and reports directly to the State Board of Education.

"Under Jim Horne's tenure at the Department of Education, Florida has led the nation in rising student achievement" said State Board of Education Chairman Phil Handy. "From his days as a legislator, Jim has been a champion of results-driven, student-centered education and he will be missed."

Horne was elected to the Florida Senate in 1994, where he was active in the formulation and implementation of education policies for the state as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, and later as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. During his tenure in the Senate, he served on the Governor's Commission on Education as well as task forces on public school construction and public school funding.

Also as a Senator, he sponsored legislation on performance-based budgeting for community colleges, public school safety, best financial management practices in education, and professional teacher development academies. Horne co-sponsored the Governor's A+ Plan for Education and the Education Governance Reorganization bill, as well as Florida's Charter School legislation.

A copy of the Commissioner's resignation letter and a summary of improvements in education under his tenure are attached.