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    Castor heading back to Florida

    She will leave a teaching standards group in October. She says she's not entering politics.

    By STEPHEN HEGARTY, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 15, 2002


    Betty Castor, former president of the University of South Florida and former state education commissioner, has resigned her position as president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

    Her resignation, after 21/2 years on the job, takes effect in October.

    Castor plans to return to Florida. But on Friday she headed off any speculation that she was resigning to jump back into Florida politics.

    "I do not plan to go into the electoral arena," Castor said.

    Castor was a fixture in Florida politics for decades. She was the first woman elected to the Hillsborough County Commission. She served three terms as a state senator, then two as Florida's education commissioner. She served as USF president for six years.

    Castor has long been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate. But when asked about that Friday, she quickly answered, "It will be too late to qualify."

    She pointed out that she will continue her work with the National Board until October.

    She likewise dismissed the possibility she might serve as anyone's lieutenant governor.

    During Castor's tenure, the National Board grew in stature. Its most high-profile venture -- the national board certification process -- underwent an explosion in growth. The number of nationally certified teachers grew from 4,807 to 16,044.

    Castor plans to return to Florida where her husband, Sam Bell, and her three married children live. She plans to start a consulting practice that will work to support education reform.

    -- Staff writer Adam Smith contributed to this report.

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