Four educators with small-scale experience apply for Florida education commissioner job
Florida's education commissioner oversees a multimillion-dollar budget and advises a statewide network of school district leaders, often taking the lead in setting state education policy.
It's not a job, many experts say, for someone with limited management experience.
Yet the leaders of two Florida schools, and two tiny Michigan school districts, suggest they're up to the task in their applications for the post. The Florida Board of Education has extended the search. Take a look at what these four candidates say they might do if selected commissioner. Click on their names to see their applications.
Oleh Bula, principal of a Sarasota charter school for the past year, served as an assistant principal in public schools before moving to the charter world. She has a doctorate in education from the University of Central Florida. She did not submit a letter.
Christopher Hammill, interim superintendent of a small Michigan school district, was a deputy superintendent in Detroit public schools for one year before heading out to lead his own districts. He writes that his background is in strategic planning, curriculum development, academic accountability and leadership training. He says he has advised many Michigan lawmakers, and recently was appointed to the state's Tenure Commission. "I am very confident that I can bring some valuable experiences to the table that will help push Florida to the next level in data application for driving student achievement," he writes.
Carlos Lopez, superintendent of a three-school district in Michigan, writes that he wants to be commissioner "because I know I have the personal humility and the professional will to do whatever must be done to get the job done and help our children succeed." He continues: "I am interested in the position of commissioner because I know and understand the duties and responsibilities of the job and have what it takes to create a 'WE' environment that allows 'US' to become the change 'AGENTS' that can make great things happen for our children."
Ellen Ryan, a Nassau County school principal since 2005, writes that her front line experiences in education give her "strong convictions and many ideas about ways to redirect educational expenditures and improve education in Florida." She says she would partner with business, work to recruit and retain the best and brightest science and math educators, and work to ensure schools do not let poverty stand in the way of children's education. "Since students today live in extraordinary times, your selection committee must select a very special person to lead Florida's education during a period of exponential changes, funding challenges and competition," Ryan writes. "That is why your committee must consider me for this most important position."