President Randy Dunn appeared before the Florida Board of Education Tuesday afternoon to for his interview for the Florida Education Commissioner position.
Dunn was the last of three candidates to be interviewed for the position out of 169 original contenders. The other applicants interviewed were Tony Bennett, outgoing Indiana state school superintendent and Charles Hokanson Jr., a former U.S. Department of Education official.
Seven Florida Board of Education members questioned Dunn about his educational leadership and his attraction to the commissioner position.
Dunn focused on his experience as Illinois superintendent and his background with pre-k through college education.
“For those of us that are educators we didn’t do this because we thought we were going to be rich,” Dunn said. “We have this passion for moving the needle, giving opportunities and improving the quality of life (for students).”
Gary Chartrand, chair of the board, asked Dunn if he thought Florida education was successfully preparing teachers and professors.
Dunn quickly answered no.
“How do you challenge students,” Dunn asked the board. “How do you deal with the fact that age doesn’t always match amplitude? That’s an element that we know a lot about and we’re not doing a lot about.”
The board questioned Dunn about his involvement with online curriculums at Murray State.
He explained the need to give teachers and professors incentives to participate in online courses. He thinks the University has reached a plateau of involvement with online programs.
“Our challenge now is looking at what new programs could go online,” Dunn said. “The challenge is to figure out what are those workforce and labor force needs.”
In his final statement of the interview, Dunn discussed his strengths in leading Florida education.
“If I have a talent, it’s as a fixer in organizations to untie knots in communication, separate alliances and make points clear,” Dunn said.
The board will meet at 8 a.m. on Wednesday to begin deliberations about candidate potential. A decision will be announced after their discussion tomorrow.