Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Finalists for FL Education Commisioner Include Intelligent Design Advocate, Yecke

The state Board of Education on Tuesday narrowed its seven remaining candidates for education commissioner down to three finalists: College Board official Eric Smith, New York state education administrator Joseph Marinelli and Florida public schools Chancellor Cheri Yecke.
Former Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Earl Lennard each received two votes.

The board set an Oct. 8 meeting to interview the three, with a goal of picking a new commissioner at its Oct. 16 meeting.

The finalists

Joseph Marinelli, Regional supervisor, New York education department
Notable:Works for the New York state education commissioner and is responsible for 25 school districts in five counties near Rochester. Previously worked as an associate superintendent in Orange County schools in Florida and as superintendent of Livonia schools in Michigan.

Eric Smith,Senior vice president, the College Board, New York, N.Y.
Notable:Heads college readiness division for the nonprofit company that writes and administers the SAT college admissions test. Was principal of Winter Park High School in Orange County from 1982-86, and an administrator with Volusia County schools from 1986-90. Later served as school superintendent in Charlotte, N.C., then Anne Arundel County, Md.

Cheri Yecke,K-12 chancellor, Florida Department of Education
Notable: Worked at a conservative think tank and was running for Congress when she was recruited by former Gov. Jeb Bush to become Florida's K-12 chancellor in 2005. Before that, she was forced out of the education commissioner position in Minnesota, partly due to clashes with a Democratic legislature over issues such as her attempt to let school districts teach 'intelligent design'in their biology courses as an alternative to evolution.

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