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Superintendent of Public Instruction / Commissioner of Education

Member of Cabinet: 1885 – 2003

Florida’s chief officer of public education was established as the Superintendent of Public Instruction under the 1868 Constitution. The Superintendent of Public Instruction became the Commissioner of Education under the 1968 Constitution. The Commissioner was one of the elected Cabinet posts until a 1998 constitutional amendment, effective January 2003, removed the now gubernatorial-appointed office from the elective Cabinet and changed the composition of the State Board of Education from the Governor and Cabinet to a board appointed by the Governor.

Supt. of Public Instruction: (1868-1969)

C. Thurston Chase (1868-1870)

[ - 1870]

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Henry Quarles (1870-1871)

No records at the archives

Rev. Charles Beecher (1871-1873)

No records at the archives

Jonathan C. Gibbs (1873-1874)

[1831-1874]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

No records at the archives

Published materials:

  • Brown, Canter. Florida’s Black Public Officials, 1867-1924. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
  • Neyland, Leedell W. Twelve Black Floridians. Tallahassee: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Foundation, 1970.
  • Williams, Learotha. “A Wider Field of Usefulness: The Life and Times of Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs c.1828-1874.” Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 2003.

Samuel B. McLin (1875-1877)

[1833-1879]

As Secretary of State

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

William Penn Haisley (1877-1881)

[ - 1906]

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Eleazer K. Foster (1881-1884)

[ - 1899]

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Albert Jonathan Russell (1884-1893)

[1829 – 1896]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Other repositories:

  • Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892-1968. State Library of Florida, Tallahassee.

Published materials:

  • Sandeau, Jules. Life and Labors of Albert J. Russell. Jacksonville: DaCosta, 1897.

William N. Sheats (1893-1905) and (1913-1922)

[1851-1922]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Other repositories:

  • Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892-1968. State Library of Florida, Tallahassee.
  • Papers, 1872-1922; 1949 (bulk 1911-1922). Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Published materials:

William M. Holloway (1905-1913)

[1862- ]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Published materials:

Other repositories:

  • Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892-1968. State Library of Florida, Tallahassee.

William S. Cawthon (1922-1937)

[1871-1963]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Other repositories:

  • Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892-1968. State Library of Florida, Tallahassee.

Published materials:

  • Berk, Paul. “‘Dogmas Accepted as Divine:’ The Impact of Progressive Reforms in Florida’s Public Schools.” Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 2005.
  • Cawthon, William S. The status of our common schools: a paper read at the annual meeting of the Florida Education Association. Jacksonville, April 1, 1932.
  • ___________________. A Semi-Centennial View of Public Education in Florida and Other Addresses. 1936.

Colin English (1937-1949)

[1895- ]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Other repositories:

  • Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892-1968. State Library of Florida, Tallahassee.

Thomas D. Bailey (1949-1965)

[1897-1974]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Other repositories:

  • Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892-1968. State Library of Florida, Tallahassee.
  • Speeches, 1965-1972. P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. 
  • Education in Florida Subject Files, 1947-1978. P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Published materials:

  • Bailey, Thomas D. Are the Public Schools Bankrupting the State? Tallahassee: Florida Education Assn, 1947.
  • __________________. Schools to Keep us Free: An Address. Tallahassee, 1951.
  • _________________. Trails in Florida Education. Tallahassee, 1963.
  • _________________. An Odyssey in Education. Tallahassee, 1974.

Floyd Thomas Christian
(Supt. of Public Instruction 1965-1969)
(Commissioner of Education in 1969-1974)

[1914- 1998]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Other repositories:

  • Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892-1968. State Library of Florida, Tallahassee.
  • Education in Florida Subject Files, 1947-1978. P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Ralph D. Turlington (1974-1986)

[1920 - ]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Other repositories:

  • Papers, 1968-1986. P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
  • Oral History (May 18, 1974), Southern politics, 1973-1975, Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  • Oral History, Florida Legislative Research and Museum, Tallahassee, Florida.

Betty Castor (1986-1994)

[1941- ]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Douglas L. Jamerson (1994-1995)

[1947 – 2001]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

Frank T. Brogan (1995-1999)

[1953- ]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

As Commissioner of Education

No records as Lieutenant Governor

Thomas Gallagher (1999-2001)

[1944 - ]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

No records at the archives

Charlie Crist (2001-2003)

[1956- ]

Florida Photographic Collection:

Collections at the State Archives of Florida:

No records as Commissioner of Education

 As Governor

Jim Horne (2003 - 2004)

No records at the archives

John L. Winn (2004 - 2007)

No records at the archives

Jeanine Blomberg (interim) (2007)

No records at the archives

Eric J. Smith (October 5, 2007 – present)

No records at the archives

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