TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The State Board of Education reopened the application process for education commissioner Friday after receiving submissions from 19 people including longtime Florida politician Tom Gallagher, who held the job once before.
Applications had to be postmarked by midnight Wednesday, but the panel voted to extend the deadline through midnight June 6 at the request of its consulting firm.
In a memo to the board, Ray and Associates Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, wrote the firm needs more time "to provide the best possible candidates from a very select pool of elite candidates."
Gallagher, a three-time candidate for governor, was the state's second-to-last elected education commissioner before the job became an appointed one in 2003. Gallagher, a Republican, held the post from 1991 through 2001. He was succeeded by Charlie Crist who later was elected governor. Gallagher also has won election as state treasurer and chief financial officer, the first person to hold that post.
The board is looking for a replacement for Commissioner Eric Smith. He resigned at the request of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who took office in January. Former Board Chairman T. Willard Fair, a close ally of former Gov. Jeb Bush, resigned in protest of Smith's ouster.
Smith's resignation is effective June 10. He is a nationally known educator who previously chaired The College Board after stints as a school superintendent in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia.
As a result of the new deadline the board will have to appoint an interim commissioner. The panel previously planned to conduct interviews June 1, but now doesn't expect to do so until June 20 or 21.
Other applicants include Florida Career and Adult Education Chancellor Loretta Costin, former Hernando County School Superintendent Wayne Alexander, who now is teaching in Hartford, Conn., and Williamson Evers, a former U.S. assistant secretary of education now a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
One applicant, Randy Shaver, was granted an early release from the last two years of his contract as school superintendent in Tupelo, Miss., after his decision to replace a principal drew community opposition. Another, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, was dismissed as superintendent of the Seattle, Wash., schools by the school board there after a financial scandal.
Edward Hashey Jr., a third grade teacher in Sarasota, wrote in his application letter that he decided to submit his name after reading a newspaper report implying no one was interested in the job and that "anyone who did apply would be considered insane."
Three other Florida classroom teachers also applied. They are Scott Whittle, a high school technology teacher in Tallahassee; Brian Lomio, an elementary school achievement coach from Spring Hill, and Jeffrey Lipp, and adult education teacher in Pembroke Pines who noted that he belongs to neither a union nor a political party.
Other Florida applicants are Oleh Bula, principal of Sky Academy in Sarasota; Ofelia San Pedro, chief operating officer of Kaplan Virtual Education in Hollywood and a former Miami-Dade County assistant superintendent, and Ellen Ryan, a Nassau County middle school principal.
Out-of-state applicants include Thomas Goodman, former superintendent of charter schools for Education Management Systems Inc. in La Canada, Calif., and a former superintendent in San Diego, Calif.; Christopher Hammill, interim superintendent in Mount Morris, Mich., and Thomas Jandris, vice president and dean of graduate programs at Concordia College in Chicago.
Rounding out the list are and Marvin Jeter, a former assistant superintendent in Tulsa, Okla.; Bessie Karvelas, deputy chief instructional officer for the Chicago Public Schools, and Carlos Lopez, superintendent of schools in River Rouge, Mich.