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January 12, 2007
Education Commissioner Winn to Retire
TALLAHASSEE Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced that he will retire from the Florida Department of Education, effective February 28, 2007, following more than three decades of service to Florida's education system.
"Having the honor to have served as Florida's Education Commissioner for the past two years has surpassed any of my expectations. Florida's educators are dedicated servants who have done so much to improve student learning and the lives of our children. I am proud of them and the achievements they have made," said Winn. "I hope to continue to contribute to education as a private citizen and will be available to Governor Crist and his staff to assist in any way he finds helpful."
Winn was appointed Commissioner of Education in September 2004, after serving as Chief of Staff to then Education Commissioner Jim Horne.
"I commend John Winn for his dedicated service as education Commissioner, and for his many years of service to Florida's students," said Governor Charlie Crist. "John has been a leader in raising the bar for student achievement and making Florida's schools more accountable. Educators like him are essential to world-class education."
Prior to his post as Chief of Staff, Winn was the Department's Deputy Commissioner for Accountability, Research and Measurement. He served as Education Policy Coordinator to Governor Jeb Bush and held various policy positions within the Department of Education. He began his career with the Department of Education in 1984 after years as a middle school and community college teacher. Winn's first teaching assignment took him to Putnam County, where he taught at an all African-American elementary school prior to desegregation.
"John has served the children of Florida unbiased and free of prejudice. He continuously places what's best for them in every decision he makes. Suffice to say, this unexpected resignation is living testimony to this fact," said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. "Even though he leaves unexpectedly, he leaves with many things accomplished his head held high and his professionalism intact. We all should strive to serve and resign in the Winn-winn fashion."
"Commissioner Winn loves the children, parents, and teachers of Florida and has been uniquely engaged and tremendously effective in promoting reforms that encourage increased student achievement," said State Board of Education Vice Chair Phil Handy. "John is the most authentic commissioner of education Florida has ever had."
During Winn's tenure, Florida has realized improved student performance, a closing of the achievement gap between white and minority students, established a world-class data system and implemented nationally-recognized education reforms, which have increased accountability of our state's schools. He was instrumental in the construction and implementation of the A+ and A++ Plans for Education, the K20 education system, as well as Bright Futures legislation, charter school legislation and the establishment of John McKay Scholarship for students with special needs. He also played a major role in developing the concept and implementation of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) to gauge student learning gains and the school grading formula.
"The successes earned by Florida's schools are a testament to the efforts of teachers, students and parents, but the dedicated public servants at the Department of Education who work day in and day out for students deserve to share in that recognition," added Winn. "I thank them for their commitment, devotion and service to the state. It has been a privilege to work alongside them, and I know they will continue to provide our citizens with a high level of customer service that has become an intrinsic part of the Department's culture."
The Commissioner serves as the chief executive of Florida's education system and reports directly to the State Board of Education.