Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday hired former state education commissioner Richard Corcoran to serve on the board of governors for the state university system.
The Board of Governors oversees Florida’s 12 state universities and is charged with responsibilities such as passing regulations to enforce state laws relating to higher education.
Corcoran, a former Republican House speaker, served for three years as the state’s top education official, overseeing Florida’s public school and college systems. During his time as head of the state’s Department of Education, Corcoran was a close ally of DeSantis on contentious issues such as efforts to stop school districts from enacting mask requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 and to ban critical race theory from public school curricula. .
Corcoran was also a key figure in the state’s decision to reopen schools early in the pandemic, which DeSantis has touted over the past two years as a major political victory.
In March, Corcoran announced he would step down as education commissioner at the end of April to “return to private life”. State Sen. Manny Diaz, a Republican from Hialeah, will replace Corcoran as the Education Committee starting next week.
“Like the rest of the nation, school districts in Florida have had to overcome some of the greatest challenges they have ever faced over the past two years, and I couldn’t think of a better governor to serve,” said Corcoran in a March 10. statement announcing his resignation from the post of commissioner.
DeSantis said the state has become an “education juggernaut” and a leader in innovation under the former House speaker’s leadership.
Corcoran’s March resignation announcement on the Department of Education’s website listed a number of “historic education reforms” made under his tenure.
Reforms included “the state’s greatest expansion to educational choice opportunities,” the legislature appropriating record levels of funding for public education, and the launch of a civics and debate initiative for college students. and high schools.
Since leaving the teaching job, Corcoran has joined the lobbying firm Continental Strategy. The firm’s website says it specializes in “advising our clients on a wide range of issues,” including “analysis of U.S. policies in Latin America.”
Corcoran, a lawyer, is a graduate of Saint Leo University and received his law degree from Regent University.
Rumors had circulated that Corcoran was seeking a position as president of a state university, as three universities — University of Florida, Florida International University and Florida Gulf Coast University — are currently seeking new leaders.
Last summer, Corcoran ran for president of Florida State University, bringing media attention to the school’s search for a leader. Corcoran’s application was met with opposition from faculty members who argued that he was unqualified for the position.
The university eventually hired Richard McCullough, a former vice provost for research at Harvard.
Diaz is expected to start as commissioner on Wednesday.