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State News

Manny Diaz is slated to become Florida's new education commissioner

manny diaz.JPG
Ryan Dailey
/
WFSU
Miami-Dade Republican Senator Manny Diaz speaks at a 2019 press conference.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is recommending state Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah to replace outgoing education commissioner Richard Corcoran. Corcoran announced in early March he would step down at the end of April, and has been on a “goodbye tour” of sorts.

Diaz has long been rumored to be a frontrunner for the job of heading the Florida Department of Education. He has carried several major pieces of education legislation during his time in the Senate—this year, he sponsored HB 7, which restricts how subjects like race can be discussed and taught in public schools and discussed in workplaces.

Speaking to WFSU News shortly after Corcoran’s resignation was announced, Diaz said, “I mean it’s, it just announced today. It was a surprise to all of us and we still got work to do in the Senate, so we’ll see what happens.”

Diaz has served in the Florida Legislature since 2012 and has also been a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and school administrator. He currently works as an administrator for Doral College, a private school that's part of the charter school company, Academica.

The soon-to-be education commissioner is a prominent supporter of school choice, and helped consolidate the state’s various private school tuition assistance programs last year, in addition to backing legislation to grow those programs.

The State Board of Education would have to confirm the governor’s recommendation for Diaz to become state education commissioner.

It is an honor to be recommended by Governor DeSantis to serve as the education commissioner,” Diaz said in a statement. “For my entire career I have worked to improve the education system to serve Florida’s students, parents and teachers. I am excited to get to work continuing the mission of the governor to make Florida the education state.

In a press release announcing Diaz’s potential new appointment, DeSantis said, “Manny Diaz has done a great job in the Legislature on education issues ranging from teacher pay to parental rights and choice. I am confident that he will serve our state well as the Commissioner of Education.”