Two school board members apply to be Florida education commissioner

Two sitting school board members in Florida are among the latest batch of applicants vying to be state education commissioner.

Rick Roach (at left), now serving his fourth term on the Orange County School Board, is perhaps best known outside of the Orlando area for his criticism of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, the state’s main standardized test. Roach revealed on The Answer Sheet blog in December that he did poorly on the math and reading portions of the 10th grade FCAT when he took it last fall. On her blog last month, Diane Ravitch called him a hero. The Orlando Sentinel has more on his bid to be commissioner here.

Andy Tuck (at right) is a school board member in rural Highlands County. In his application, he wrote that Florida’s education system “needs to be looked at from a more objective and business approach” and should put more “attention and accountability” on leadership positions. Interestingly, the Highlands school board was among those that did not join a popular resolution last summer critical of Florida’s testing regimen. “I don’t necessarily agree with high-stakes testing,” Tuck told Highlands Today in June, “but I believe until we have a better solution on how we should evaluate learning gains, I don’t think we should be passing any resolution.”

Roach and Tuck are among 18 people whose applications came in after the Florida Board of Education voted last week to extend the commissioner search through early December. So far, 34 people have applied. As with the first batch, there are no obvious “rock stars” in the mix, which includes a number of school principals and small-district superintendents. One name that stands out: Dane Linn, executive director for state policy at The College Board.

You can see the first 16 applications in this earlier post here. Attached below are the most recent 18.



















Avatar photo

BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at