Gov. Ron DeSantis named a new slate of Southern Regional Education Board members Friday. Appropriately, all are current or former educators.
Rules require Board membership to include Governors from all 16 member states and four gubernatorial appointees, including at least one state legislator and one educator.
This time, the state lawmaker is Hialeah Republican Rep. Alex Rizo, who runs a consulting firm specializing in charter school and college preparatory tutoring.
The other appointments are Megan Crombie, a teacher and instructional specialist at Florida State University School; Arthur Keiser, the chancellor and founder of Keiser University and Southeastern College; and G. Devin Stephenson, president and CEO of Northwestern Florida State College.
They replace outgoing board members Karin Hoffman, CEO of Key Innovative Solutions in Tallahassee; Joe Pickens, president of St. Johns River State College; and Republican state Reps. Patt Maney of Shalimar and Rene Plasencia of Orlando.
DeSantis did not provide a statement to accompany the appointments.
Rizo is a former educator, having taught at Barbara Goleman Senior High School in Miami Lakes before taking a job as an administrator with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He also worked as a sales representative for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the South Florida region until 2007, when he went into consulting.
His re-election campaign website lists reforming “the current Florida State Assessments for public schools to a more streamlined, student and school ‘friendly’ system” and advocating for “choice in education” as his top two priorities.
Crombie, now in her 17th year as an educator, was named Florida State University School and K-12 District Teacher of the Year in 2019. At the time, outgoing Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran called her a “dynamic and well-respected” teacher who “demonstrated a passion for helping students reach their full potential by setting high expectations, taking advantage of technology and employing data-driven instruction strategies.”
Keiser, in addition to his work with his eponymous university and Southeastern College, serves as chair of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and a member of the Florida Council of 100, Career College Association and Independent Colleges and Universities.
Stephenson boasts more than 30 years of experience and is a current member of the Florida Delegation for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Southern Regional Education Board also includes members from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.