SEBRING — Highlands citrus grower Andy Tuck, 49, has been elected to serve as chairman of the State Board of Education.

The agenda for Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting noted that Chairwoman Marva Johnson, of Winter Garden, had served two two-year terms and could no longer serve as chair.

Tuck who had been vice-chair, was approved by the board to serve as the chairman.

“I am very honored to have been elected to serve as State Board of Education Chair,” Tuck said Thursday. “Our singular focus has been ensuring every Florida student has access to a world-class education that will prepare them to achieve their academic, career and life goals.

“As I take on this new role, I am committed to building on this positive momentum and working collaboratively with my fellow board members and Commissioner Corcoran to continue moving the needle for our state’s education system.”

In January 2015, Tuck was in his second four-year term on The School Board of Highlands County when he was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the State Board of Education.

In January 2018, Scott reappointed Tuck to the State Board of Education.

Long-time School Board of Highlands County Member Donna Howerton said, “(I’m) excited for Andy and know he will do a good job in that position. He was very active while serving on the School Board at keeping an eye on state issues and being an advocate in Tallahassee for public education. Especially affecting small and rural school districts.

“So I know he is still keeping an eye out for Highlands County. I am able to call him now on issues that arise at the state level and he is good at getting answers or giving me someone I can call, which is very helpful,” she said.

Tuck had also served as the vice chair of the Florida School Boards Association.

Tuck’s wife, Sandee, is a language arts teacher at Hill-Gustat Middle School in Sebring. His mother, Arlene, is a Highlands County commissioner. His daughter, Kaylee, is running for the Republican nomination for State House of Representatives District 55.

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