Three Florida Board of Education member terms end this month

The incumbents want to continue serving.
Published Dec. 7, 2017

There's been some speculation lately as to what the future holds for Florida's Board of Education, with three seats coming open and a fourth still without an official appointment from a year ago.

Board chairwoman Marva Johnson, vice chair Andy Tuck and member Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey end their first terms of office on Dec. 31. Member Michael Olenick's term expired at the end of 2016, and he continues to serve without having been renominated.

Board of Education members are limited to two consecutive terms.

As of Wednesday, Olenick, Johnson and Tuck had applied with the governor's appointments office for second terms. Fishman-Lipsey had not submitted any paperwork, but said she was under the impression that she did not have to file for renewal.

She said she would gladly serve again if asked: "Although it is a big time commitment, and not an easy role, I value there being a former teacher up there."

Fishman-Lipsey has a master's in education and taught in Harlem through Teach for America.

The governor's office had a list of 27 candidates who applied in 2017, through Wednesday. In addition to the board members seeking reappointment, recently appointed Ben Gibson and one applicant who died after turning in papers, the list included:

Anay Abraham, director of a Miami center supporting children with developmental disabilities
Brandon Okpalobi, founder of a Miami program promoting youth sports and life skills
Jackson Self, principal of a Palm Beach County charter school
Janice Adams
Edver Bourne, an Orlando education consultant
Gregg Laskoski, a Hernando County education activist and businessman
Keith Hatcher
Ashley Landes, Hillsborough County teacher
Gary Price, former Naples City Council member
Kimberly Dunlap, Nova Southeastern University instructor
David Dyer
Karin Hoffman, Lighthouse Point tea party activist, recently appointed to Board of Control for Southern Regional Education
Tabitha Procise, Orlando higher education consultant, former College of Central Florida registrar
Steven Leskovich, a Punta Gorda attorney
John DeCerce
Maureen Wilt, Florida Education Foundation treasurer
Diana Taub, retired south Florida educator
Debra Edwards
Kim Werner
Amanda Cerda, Volusia County teacher
Lisa Eshkov, Pasco County teacher
Anthony Perugini, Pasco County parent

Governor's office spokeswoman Lauren Schenone said interested candidates still have time to file applications. The governor has not announced a time line to fill the posts.

Because none of the sitting members are term limited, they could continue to serve without any added action until they are formally reappointed or someone else is named to the post.