Who's your pick for ed commish?
In education policy circles, and for anything that spins off of it (which would be everything, right?), tomorrow is a big day: The state Board of Education is scheduled to whittle its list of applicants for ed commish down to a handful. The decision, ultimately, is up to the 7-member board, but we don't see why you can't put your two cents in. Here's our best-guess list of the most credible candidates. Tell us what you think of them. Or who you think the board will choose. Or both.
Cheri Yecke (left): She's currently Florida's K-12 chancellor, which is essentially the No. 2 at the Department of Education. She's got a deep resume, having served as ed czars in Virginia and Minnesota. But she's also a social conservative, and could be a lightning rod on issues such as intelligent design.
Jim Warford (right): A former Marion County superintendent, he had Yecke's job before he clashed with former ed commish John Winn. Now he heads up the Florida Association of School Administrators. He's not anti-FCAT, but when it comes to Jeb's accountability system, he may be the most openly critical candidate on the list.
Earl Lennard (left): He retired as superintendent of Hillsborough County, one of the biggest districts in the state and nation, in 2005, after nine years on the job. Had a good reputation as a capable administrator, and, during the Jeb years, had fairly smooth relations with Tallahassee. Does he have enough oomph to get the state's top ed job?
Thomas Watkins Jr. (right): Former superintendent of public instruction in Michigan, Watkins has ties to Florida, too. He led economic development efforts in Palm Beach County during the 1990s, and claims to have helped Jeb Bush start a charter school in Miami.
William Moloney (left): Former education commissioner in Colorado. Retired after a decade, Moloney is looking to take on a new position in a new state. He served his last day in Colorado in June. He's a big fan of the No Child Left Behind Law, perhaps a plus in our accountability heavy state.
Richard La Pointe: Currently an official in the Bush US Department of Education, La Pointe did a two-year term as Virginia superintendent of public instruction under Gov. George Allen. A leader in career and technical education issues, he was a finalist for Kentucky education commissioner earlier this year. (Sorry, no picture.)
Bill Montford (left): A late addition over the weekend, former Leon superintendent Montford was among the few people rumored for the job early. He told newspapers at the time that he wouldn't seek the post. But in his application filed over the weekend, Montford, who currently heads the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, said he had reconsidered because he has a "significant contribution" to make.
- Ron Matus and Jeff Solochek