Martinez picks Florida reformer to be education secretary
Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has nominated a woman who implemented education reforms in Florida to be New Mexico’s public education secretary.
Hanna Skandera “served as the deputy commissioner of education under (Florida) Governor Jeb Bush, where she promoted and implemented middle and high school reforms that instituted greater accountability, incentives for high performance and the end of social promotion,” a news release from Martinez’s transition team states.
“As a result of the education reforms put in place in Florida, reading scores improved dramatically across ethnic groups, with Hispanic students outperforming all students in 31 other states,” the release states.
Skandera has also served as a senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Education and undersecretary for education for the State of California.
“Hanna is a proven reformer who has successfully implemented education innovations and achievement-based reforms for two of our nation’s governors,” Martinez said in a news release. “She shares my belief that we must focus on implementing reforms that improve student achievement here in New Mexico, rather than simply throwing more money at a failed system.”
Skandera said Martinez has directed her “to reform a system that has failed young New Mexicans, and we will do so by raising standards, rewarding excellence and re-focusing our attention on classroom achievement.”
“The foundation for these bold changes is an approach to education that puts students first,” she said.
Update, 3:45 p.m.
Martinez’s team sent this statement from Bush:
“Hanna is a passionate, effective advocate for improving student achievement. Her vast academic, government and professional experience in education makes her an incredible asset to New Mexico as they work to improve student outcomes.”
Update, 4:15 p.m.
Think New Mexico’s Fred Nathan was quick to praise the selection of Skandera.
“Governor Elect Susana Martinez deserves an A+ for choosing Hanna Skandera as PED secretary,” he said. “Skandera is a true education reformer and a data-driven proponent of smaller schools. Her selection is especially good news for public school children and their parents seeking smaller learning environments.”
Think New Mexico is advocating for smaller schools, and Nathan pointed to an article co-authored by Skandera that does the same.