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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida education commissioner finalist list due out today



With interviews a week off, the Florida Board of Education plans to announce its list of finalists for education commissioner some time today. Department of Education spokeswoman Cynthia Sucher tells the Gradebook that the names will be posted on the department website after each board member has been conferred with and signs off on the list.

It seems clear that Tony Bennett, the outgoing Indiana superintendent of public instruction, is a shoo-in for an interview, if not the clear favorite to win the job itself. He fits many of the criteria (attached below), and falls in line with many of the philosophies being promoted by GOP state leaders. (Although at least one ed blogger, Bob Sikes, sees Bennett as counter to Gov. Rick Scott's recent new direction.)

But who else might give the State Board reason to consider? Here's our quick list on possible interview candidates from the total group, with the premise that the board will meet with five applicants as it did a year ago. Check out our thoughts, and see how they match the state's and yours. 

Charles Hokanson Jr. — A Race to the Top peer evaluator, Hokanson served in the G.W. Bush education department, was an aide to House Speaker Boehner, led the Alliance for School Choice and now consults on education reform issues.

Randy DunnPresident of Murray State University in Kentucky, Dunn served three years as Superintendent of Education for the Illinois State Board of Education. He's served as a professor of education administration prior to moving to the state job. While state superintendent, Murray worked on several accountability efforts.

Milton Johns — Chairman of the respected Prince Williams County (Md.) School Board, Johns served on the Virginia governor's education transition team. He also has advised his local congressional delegation on education issues.

Ebbie Parsons III — Chairman of Blackboard Solutions, an education turnaround firm, Parsons has served as chief operating officer of Mosaica and also as acting chief operating officer of the Hartford (Ct.) school system. He's been trained in the Broad Residency Program in Urban Education, and is a graduate of the Florida A&M-FSU engineering program.

Stay tuned to see the real list.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 10:13am]


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