The Foundation for Florida’s Future honors the courageous lawmakers who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in advancing bold reforms to make education in Florida a model for the nation.
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
A major presence on the Education PreK–12 Committee, Senator Benacquisto advocated passionately on behalf of Florida’s parents and students. She successfully fought to reach more students with quality, customized education options through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, and under her leadership, the Senate nearly passed a groundbreaking bill to empower more parents to engage in their child’s education.
Senator Don Gaetz
Senator Gaetz, a successful businessman and former superintendent of Okaloosa County Schools, knows firsthand the importance of student-centered policies. Through his leadership, Florida passed innovative legislation to reward and fund schools for student learning instead of just seat-time. As the next Senate President, Senator Gaetz is sure to continue building on successful policies and advancing new education reforms.
Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner
In 2012, Senator Gardiner championed a digital learning bill and demonstrated uncompromised commitment to the future of our state’s students. As Senate Majority Leader, he led lawmakers to pass bold, student-centered legislation. Thanks to his work, more students will have access to digital learning, and full-time Florida Virtual School students will be able to participate in their local school’s interscholastic extracurricular activities.
Senator Bill Montford
As CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, Senator Montford represented a powerful voice for students on the Education PreK–12 Committee. Senator Montford sponsored a bill to strengthen and streamline state and federal accountability for education in the Sunshine State, and he supported other important bills that further expand quality, customized education to Florida’s students.
Senator Jeremy Ring
Recognized as a champion of parental choice, Senator Ring continues to exemplify Florida’s bipartisan support for transformational education reforms. Senator Ring demonstrated his commitment to high-quality, customized education by voting to advance digital learning and accelerated learning options for Florida’s students. He was a critical ally for the Parent Empowerment Act as it moved through the committee process. Senator Ring’s overall support helped keep students a priority in 2012.
Senator Gary Siplin
A bold champion of school choice, Senator Siplin is a leading example of the growing bipartisan support for Florida’s proven voucher programs. As a member of both the Subcommittee on Education PreK–12 Appropriations and the Budget Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations, Senator Siplin played a critical role in advancing student-centered legislation in 2012.
Representative Michael Bileca
This year, Representative Bileca established a track record for challenging the status quo on behalf of Florida’s students. During session, Representative Bileca sponsored the historic “Parent Empowerment Act” and fought to empower moms and dads with an informed choice and voice to direct their child’s educational path and improve their current school.
Representative Marti Coley
As Chair of the PreK–12 Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Coley’s influence will resonate throughout Florida’s schools this year. A teacher by trade, Representative Coley led lawmakers to protect and increase funding for Florida’s school recognition program and to provide an overall increase to the public school budget.
Representative Richard Corcoran
Representative Corcoran has clearly displayed his commitment to Florida’s families. This year, he sponsored a bill to expand access, eligibility and accountability to Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program. This legislation removes barriers for elementary school students, empowering low-income families to select the best school to meet the needs of their children.
Representative Erik Fresen
As Chair of the K–20 Competitiveness Subcommittee and Vice-Chair of the PreK–12 Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Fresen continues to be a leader for reform. This session, he championed legislation to strengthen and improve Florida’s accountability system.
Representative John Patrick Julien
An advocate for quality education, Representative Julien voted on behalf of Sunshine State students. This year, Representative Julien continued his support for Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program and was a crucial ally in the fight to bring every child a quality, customized education.
Representative Kelli Stargel
This year, Representative Stargel championed another round of student-centered reforms by sponsoring legislation to advance high-quality, customized education through digital learning and expanding accelerated learning options for high-achieving students. Through her leadership, Florida passed legislation to reward schools for student learning instead of just seat-time.