Jandris touts himself as a "hybrid candidate"
Thomas P. Jandris has run large companies, worked in public education, served in the administrations of universities.
Now he seeks to be Florida education commissioner, and hopes his vast experience puts him a step ahead of the other candidates.
"I do want to emphasize the fact that I'm not your typical candidate for the job," he told the State Board of Education. "Being the hybrid candidate, none of the experiences were superficial. Only one of my 16 companies failed. That's a fairly remarkable track record."
Jandris frequently name-dropped, noting among other things that he had worked with the Bush family in many capacities over 30 years and that he had helped formulate both Florida's A Plus Plan and the national No Child Left Behind Act. He also took a dig at candidate Bret Schundler, saying that while some candidates for the job might have boasted at their adversarial role with teacher unions, "I have had close colleagues at the NEA for years."
Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan suggested that such collaboration might not be easy in Florida, where the relationship with the union is not strong. She pointed at today's lawsuit by the Florida Education Association against the state over changes to pensions.
Asked what he thought Florida might do better, Jandris said he might focus on technology use in schools, which happens to be what one of his companies does.
"That might be the one need," Jandris said, adding that he supports much of Florida's education philosophy.
The final interview, with Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson, has just begun.