Governor-elect Ron DeSantis confirmed Thursday that he wants former House Speaker Richard Corcoran to serve as Florida’s new Education Commissioner. Corcoran’s appointment is a victory for school choice supporters and for that reason, expected to be criticized by Democrats and the state teacher’s union.
“I am proud to recommend Richard Corcoran for Florida Education Commissioner and know that he will put his experience and passion for the success of Florida’s students to work in this new role,” said Governor-elect DeSantis. “Richard is known as a no-nonsense reformer whose sole focus has been how best to support students, parents and teachers. This issue is very personal to me. Casey and I believe that the future of our children and the future of all Florida’s children depend on our education system. I know Richard will never stop fighting until every child in Florida has access to a world-class education.”
During his recently completed two-year term as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Corcoran led the effort to create additional charter schools in the state and allowing students in failing public schools to transfer to those public schools often operated by private companies.
Thirteen county school boards challenged the legality of the “Schools of Hope” program, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit earlier this year.
DeSantis recommends his choice of education commissioner. The state Board of Education actually hires the commissioner. The board is comprised of members appointed by outgoing Governor Rick Scott.
“As Chair of the State Board of Education, I look forward to reviewing Governor-elect DeSantis’ recommendation of Richard Corcoran as the next Commissioner of Education. He has the knowledge and experience to ensure continued success at the Department of Education and to protect Florida’s legacy as a national leader in education. He is truly passionate about helping all students get a world-class education,” said Marva Johnson, Chair of the State Board of Education.
Corcoran lives in Pasco County with his wife and six school-aged children. His wife, Anne Corcoran, sits on the board of a Pasco County charter school.
The Governor-elect also appointed Broward County Democratic legislator Jared Moskowitz to serve at the director of the Division of Emergency Management. Moskowitz is an attorney with no prior experience in emergency management. Though in the political minority in the House of Representatives, Moskowitz often works with the Republican majority on legislation.
“Representative Moskowitz will be a great leader for the future of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, preparing our state for situations that need rapid response and real-time execution in the face of crisis,” said Governor-elect DeSantis. “Florida has a long history of being a model for the nation in emergency preparedness and response, and with Jared at the helm, I am confident this legacy will continue. Floridians will be well served with Jared Moskowitz leading this vital agency.”
Rep. Moskowitz is close with Congressman Matt Gaetz, a DeSantis’ confident who serves on the Governor-elect’s transition team. His appointment is already winning bipartisan support.
“As somebody who lost a home back in Hurricane Ivan, I know how devastated Floridians can be and feel immediately following a disaster. I applaud Governor-elect DeSantis for choosing a capable and caring leader in Jared Moskowitz to lead Emergency Management. Jared is tenacious and meticulous. He is an excellent choice to lead the division as we continue to help Floridians recover from Michael and Irma and will ensure Florida remains well prepared to handle emergency situations,” said Republican State Senator Doug Broxson, who represents the Pensacola-area.
Corcoran and Moskowitz are DeSantis’ first two selections to lead state agencies. With nearly a month to go before DeSantis’ takes office, he’ll need to complete the transition by naming other agency heads and rounding out his staff in the Governor’s office.