Advertisement
  1. Gradebook

Highlands County citrus grower becomes Florida Board of Education chairman

Andy Tuck has served as vice chairman for four years.
Highlands County citrus farmer Andy Tuck is named Florida Board of Education chairman at a meeting July 17, 2019, in Polk County. [The Florida Channel]
Highlands County citrus farmer Andy Tuck is named Florida Board of Education chairman at a meeting July 17, 2019, in Polk County. [The Florida Channel]
Published Jul. 18, 2019

The Florida Board of Education has its first new chairman in four years, with the appointment of Highlands County citrus farmer Andy Tuck.

Tuck, appointed to a second term on the board in early 2018, replaces Marva Johnson of Winter Garden, who held the post since 2015 and was barred from continuing as chair.

In nominating Tuck, board member Michael Olenick joked that Tuck’s four-year apprenticeship as vice chairman to Johnson provided ample training to take over the leadership role. On a more serious note, Olenick noted that Tuck, a former Highlands County School Board member, strongly supports public education and keeps an eye on the needs of small and rural school districts, which can get overlooked in debates where major urban districts generate the most attention.

He has served in the past as vice-chairman of the Florida School Boards Association-Small District Council.

Tuck’s selection won unanimous support. The board then asked Johnson to become vice-chairwoman, with member Ben Gibson observing that she had the necessary knowledge and could easily step in as chair if the need arises.

Tuck accepted the nomination, saying he was “honored and humbled” to serve in a capacity he suggested he really hadn’t considered a decade ago.

He takes the helm of the board at a time when it is rising in influence, under the management of education commissioner Richard Corcoran.

In recent months, the board has more forcefully asserted itself in such areas as the operation of schools in the state accountability system. It has more frequently inserted its preferences into district turnaround proposals, calling for more state leadership to guide districts and even suggesting the need for added authority in cases when the districts do not respond adequately.

Related: Florida education commissioner suggests takeover authority for long-struggling schools

The board is closely aligned to the Governor’s Office, and is taking a key role in overseeing actions including a standards review that Gov. Ron DeSantis has demanded. It appointed Corcoran — DeSantis’ choice for commissioner — without considering other options and is seen as a strong ally in pursuing the governor’s education agenda, which has focused on expanding vouchers, charter schools and other choice options in addition to pushing for improved outcomes in district schools.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Miranda Harwood, a fourth-grade math teacher at Brooker Elementary School, is the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year. [Hillsborough County Public Schools]
    The self-described “data queen” uses humor to keep her students engaged.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Five girls and one boy will face charges after lunchtime fights disrupted the Pasco County campus, according to the school district.
  3. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.
  4. Kurt Browning, left, is seeking a third term as superintendent of Pasco County schools. Addison Davis, right, is negotiating a contract to become Hillsborough County's next superintendent. [Tampa Bay Times (2016, 2020)]
    A Hillsborough search and Pasco election offer insights into the job and its importance.
  5. This time last year, Nicole Kenngatt, holding hands with student Lilly Crandall, was announced as Teacher of the Year. The award for the 2019-20 school year will be given Wednesday in a ceremony at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. [JAY NOLAN  |  Special to the Times]
    The winner for 2019-20 will be announced Wednesday during the Pinellas Education Foundation’s annual “Evening of Excellence.”
  6. An empty classroom at Bloomingdale High School in Hillsborough County. [Skip O'Rourke | Times] [SKIP O'ROURKE  |  Skip O'Rourke]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. State Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Jacksonville Republican, presents his bill to create a "do not hire" list for any school employee who has been terminated, or resigned in lieu of termination, from employment as a result of sexual misconduct with a student. [The Florida Channel]
    The measure would apply to district, charter and private schools.
  8. Students grieve at Pine Trails Park, near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one month to the day since 17 students and staff were shot dead there, March 14, 2018. [SAUL MARTINEZ  |  New York Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. Addison Davis, the superintendent of Clay County District Schools, was chosen Tuesday as the new Hillsborough County school superintendent. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The School Board’s vote is unanimous for Davis, who calls himself “an accelerator.”
  10. In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File) [MIKE STOCKER  |  AP]
    But this year’s bill may provoke fewer fireworks than the bitter debates seen in the past two sessions.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement