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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

The short list for Florida education commissioner



Six candidates will get 45 minutes each on Monday to strut their stuff in hopes of becoming Florida's next education commissioner.

They are ... Candidate 1, Candidate 2, Candidate 3, Candidate 4, Candidate 5 and Candidate 6.

No. We're not being flip. That's how they're listed on the Florida Board of Education's meeting agenda. And when we asked for the names, we got word that search firm Ray and Associates won't provide a list of finalists even to board members until Sunday.

That, of course, gives board members plenty of time to prepare deep, probing and specific questions for each of the hopefuls. Right?

In the meantime, we can all speculate on who will show up in Tampa for interviews. Here's our guess, based on the resumes and past news stories we've seen so far:

Gerard Robinson, Virginia secretary of education - he's a true believer on school choice issues, a young up and comer with lots of support in the education reform community, and he's one of the few on the list who hasn't been fired from some past job.

Bret Schundler, former New Jersey education commissioner - sure, he had a highly publicized dismissal after his department failed to secure a Race to the Top grant amid application errors. But he got hired in the first place by NJ Gov. Chris Christie, a new leader in the national movement, and he's known to care a lot about education.

Williamson Evers, Hoover Institution research fellow - a former official in the GW Bush education department, Evers knows education policy and has studied Florida's systems. On the downside, though, he's an opponent of a national curriculum, which Florida has favored.

Loretta Costin, Florida chancellor for career and technical education - she's got the inside scoop on the Florida DOE and its politics, and has helped implement many programs. 

Stacia Smith, superintendent of the Clark County, Ohio, Educational Service Center - she made the finalist list for Ohio's top job. So why not Florida, too?

Thomas Goodman, retired California educator - he's been a superintendent of a large urban district (San Diego), the head of a community college system, the superintendent of a charter school group, and a director of Department of Defense schools. If you want well rounded, he's certainly that.

How close do you think we are? Who do you think will get interviews?

[Last modified: Friday, June 17, 2011 8:01am]


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