Board of Governors' Parker to become COO Of Florida Polytech

Nov 19, 2012

Board of Governors member Ava Parker has resigned her position on the board to take a job at the state’s newest public university.

Parker is one of the longest serving members on the BOG, which oversees the state public university system, having been appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush shortly after the group was created through a 2002 constitutional amendment.

Governor Rick Scott extended her term for another year, which is up in January.

Parker, a Jacksonville Attorney and lobbyist who is married to Senator Joe Gibbons, D-Jacksonville, will start as Florida Polytech University’s Chief Operating Officer on December 1.

As COO, Parker will help hire staff, oversee the development and construction of the camps and steer the school toward accreditation while recruiting new students.

During her time as Chairwoman on the Florida Board of Governors, Parker was one of many who expressed concerns about Florida Polytech’s desire to expedite its independence from its parent school, the University of South Florida.

The school ultimately became independent after state lawmakers passed a bill designating it the state’s 12th public university over the objections of USF faculty, staff, students and even its President Judy Ghenshaft.

“As we started to think about the interim leader of the Polytechnic, it became clear that we needed someone not only with a background in higher education, but with real-world savvy to help us communicate our vision to the many, varied stakeholders interested in seeing this university succeed,” said Rob Gidel, chair of the Florida Polytechnic Board of Trustees.

“Ava Parker is the right person for the job. We are excited she agreed to take on this challenge."

Parker is a graduate of the University of Florida and prior to her appointment to the Florida Board of Governors, served on the University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees.