State Education Commissioner to Be Featured Guest at Polk State’s College and Career Readiness Summit

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart will be the special guest at Polk State College’s College and Career Readiness Summit.

The event takes place at 11 a.m. on May 21 in room LTB 1100 at Polk State Lakeland, 3425 Winter Lake Road. The event is free and open to parents, educators, students, business leaders and anyone interested in learning about college and career readiness.

Stewart’s decades-long career in education includes work as a classroom teacher, guidance counselor, testing and research specialist, assistant principal and principal. In 2004, she was named deputy chancellor for educator quality at the Florida Department of Education. She held that position until 2009, when she became deputy superintendent for academic services for the St. Johns County School District.

She returned to the FDOE in 2011, to serve as chancellor of public schools. She was named commissioner in September 2013.

At the Polk State event, Stewart will participate in a panel discussion on what college and career readiness means, why it’s important that high school graduates are college- and career-ready, and what can be done to improve college and career readiness.

“There are a lot of different ideas on what it means to be ‘college and career ready,’” said Patty Linder, Polk State’s education program director and one of the organizers of the summit.

“We’re going to talk about how we define college and career readiness, what the goals are for our community and our state, and how the Polk County Public Schools and Polk State College are working together to support our students and their goals, whether that’s to go to college or enter the workforce.”

Joining Stewart in the discussion will be Bartow High School student Erick Meza, Winter Haven businessman Bill Sands, City of Auburndale Communications Manager Merissa Green, as well as parent Ravinder Pasumarthi and Polk State student MeLynda Rinker. The panel is designed to offer a wide variety of perspectives on college and career readiness.

Saundra Weathers, a reporter with Bay News 9, will moderate the event.

The event is made possible through the Curriculum Alignment Project of Polk, an FDOE grant-funded initiative that unites the Polk County Public Schools and Polk Sate College in addressing college and career readiness.

For more information on the event, contact Courtlann Thomas, director of academic support services, at or 863.669.2807.