Former teacher to replace Kathleen Shanahan on state Board of Education

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In an effort to address critical academic issues, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday the appointment of a former New York City educator to the Florida Board of Education.

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, 32, replaces Kathleen Shanahan on the Board for a term starting Jan. 1, 2014. Lipsey joins the Board of Education at a time when they are struggling with significant issues, such as the national “Common Core” education standards and lingering questions about the state’s school-grading system.

Lipsey, a resident of Aventura, taught fourth- and fifth-grade from 2004 to 2006, then holding a series of positions at the educational resource corps Teach for America until 2012. She also served as executive director of Teach for America in Miami-Dade County from 2008 to 2012.

Scott’s decision to replace Shanahan was no surprise. Shanahan, former chief of staff for former Gov. Jeb Bush, has a history of criticizing Scott on a number of issues. During last week’s board meeting, she blasted the governor for skipping an education conference that Scott himself had called.

She also attacked Scott for not consulting members in an expected executive order focusing on education.

“He should have sent a recommendation to the state board for action,” Shanahan said, adding that Scott’s actions were “embarrassing for him.”

Lipsey’s appointment is subject to Senate approval. If approved, her term will run through 2017.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.