July 30, 2014

Advocacy

Frank Fuller: Education Point Man

| 2/28/2013

Don Gaetz and Frank Fuller first crossed paths in 1994. Fuller was principal at C.W. Ruckel Middle School in Niceville. Gaetz, who had recently moved his family back to the area, was interviewing middle school principals to determine where to send his children, Matt and Erin. Two years later, Gaetz and Fuller found themselves working together on the Okaloosa County school board — Gaetz as chairman and Fuller as lead principal.

After Gaetz was elected superintendent of Okaloosa County schools in 2000, he brought Fuller on as his assistant superintendent.

Gaetz and Fuller set out to transform their school system into one of the top-rated in the state. Gaetz, a retired health care executive, slashed non-essential jobs in the central school office and outsourced the building of classrooms, a move that saved time and $8 million.

Fuller, meanwhile, had more than two decades of experience as an educator and a daringness that impressed Gaetz. The former high school economics teacher had in 1999 co-founded a 500-student K-8 charter school. He later created a “blended school” partnership with home schooling families that allowed home schoolers to access public schools on a part-time basis. “Frank was the guy who dreamed things that hadn’t happened yet and then he made them happen,” says Gaetz.

One of their biggest successes was the creation of the first Choice Institute, which allows students to simultaneously earn diplomas, college credit and national industry certifications at no cost to their families. The program eventually became a model for the state and nation.

Tags: Politics & Law, Education, Government/Politics & Law, Advocacy

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Sweeter and Healthier Strawberries
Sweeter and Healthier Strawberries

Researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville are studying ways to help more people love the taste of healthy foods.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

If Florida's gubernatorial election was held today, who would you vote for?

  • Charlie Crist
  • Gov. Rick Scott
  • Adrian Wyllie
  • Other (comment below)

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe