Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson resigned unexpectedly Tuesday, saying that "living far away from my family" was too much of a challenge to continue as Florida's schools chief.
Robinson's departure is effective Aug. 31, according to letters he sent to Gov. Rick Scott and Kathleen Shanahan, chairman of the State Board of Education.
His announcement means Florida will be searching for a new education leader at a time when its test-based school-accountability system is facing heavy criticism, the pool of candidates interested in leading its school districts has shrunk, and at least three other states controlled by Republicans are also searching for top school officials.
Robinson, 44, was hired by the State Board of Education in June 2011 in a move supported by Scott. At the time, Robinson was Virginia's secretary of education.