Yesterday, the State Board of Education reported to Historic City News that former Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran was unanimously appointed to serve as Florida’s next Commissioner of Education during the State Board of Education meeting in Tallahassee.
As a legislator who served in the Florida House of Representative for eight years, Corcoran advocated for transformational student-focused legislation, including the Schools of Hope program, which serves students in persistently low-performing schools; the establishment of the Hope Scholarship to help bullied students; and the Best and Brightest Scholarship Program, to reward and recruit quality educators.
“I look forward to working with the Board to ensure students and their families are empowered to take control of their education options, more resources are directed to Florida’s classrooms, and all students have high-performing educators,” Corcoran told reporters Monday. “Governor-elect Ron DeSantis set strong expectations for education in Florida, and I look forward to working with our state’s education stakeholders and the Florida Legislature to ensure Florida’s students have the greatest chance at lifelong success.”
The Florida Constitution charges the State Board of Education with the “supervision of the system of free public education,” including the appointment of the commissioner of education.
State Board of Education Chair Marva Johnson said, “Richard Corcoran has a strong leadership record. He is the best leader to ensure a smooth transition and to identify opportunities to accelerate progress along the way. He brings with him a passion for providing Floridians access to the world-class education options they deserve and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. I am confident he will be critical to keeping Florida’s education system moving in the right direction.”
During his years in the Florida legislature, Corcoran was elected by his peers to serve as former Speaker of the House from 2016-2018. He is a United States veteran and private attorney.
“Florida has been celebrated as a national education leader and remaining on this positive trajectory is my top priority,” State Board of Education Vice Chair Andy Tuck said. “I appreciate Richard Corcoran’s willingness to serve the people of Florida in this capacity, and I am eager to begin working together to continue improving our state’s education system.”
Corcoran succeeds Pam Stewart of St Johns County in his new role as Commissioner of Education. Other members of the State Board offered their congratulations and support for Corcoran’s election to this important statewide leadership post.
- State Board of Education Member Gary Chartrand said, “Richard Corcoran has a well-deserved reputation for advocating intensely on behalf of Florida’s students and their families. I have been outspoken about parents’ right to choose the best school for their children’s individual needs, and he will play a pivotal role in maintaining the positive momentum we have built around school choice in Florida.”
- State Board of Education Member Ben Gibson said, “As a father, I take seriously our responsibility to appoint a commissioner who has demonstrated a deep desire to further enhance Florida’s education system. Richard Corcoran’s record speaks for itself, and it is evident he intends to make improvements that will benefit today’s students and future generations.”
- State Board of Education Member Tom Grady said, “In calls and emails, hundreds of people told me the same thing: they want the best educational opportunities for all kids in Florida, rich and poor, black and white, and everything in between. So do I, and that’s why I support the Board’s decision to hire Richard Corcoran as our next Commissioner.”
- State Board of Education Member Michael Olenick said, “Governor-elect has made his recommendation, and we as the State Board of Education had the responsibility to make a final decision. Mr. Corcoran, as the former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, has many leadership qualities that may be beneficial to the role of Education Commissioner.”
- State Board of Education Member Joe York said, “I have had the opportunity to work closely with Richard Corcoran over the years. I admire the determination with which he approaches issues, and I believe his fresh insight is exactly what our education system needs to gain additional ground and remain at the top of the nation.”