“He is a leader who has proven himself in the struggle to empower parents and implement bold education reforms under the Governor [DeSantis] and we are ready to change Arkansas education,” Sanders wrote in a Thursday tweet.
Oliva brings years of educational experience at both the state and local levels.
Since 2017, Oliva has been senior chancellor of the Florida Department of Education, a position responsible for public schools, school safety, early learning, and school choice. He remained in this role throughout DeSantis’ governorship and major events such as the 2018 Parkland school shooting, the effects of which still linger on Florida schools.
Oliva has recently helped Florida implement several controversial laws such as the “Don’t Say Gay” when state education leaders pressured schools over possible LGBTQ policies that they said could violate parental rights. He also earlier this year applied to be a school superintendent in Miami-Dade County.
Prior to his tenure with the Florida Department of Education, Oliva began his career teaching elementary schools and rose through the ranks to become principal of two schools in Flagler County. Oliva then led schools in Flager County as superintendent for four years until joining the state’s education agency.
State lawmakers in Arkansas on Thursday supported Sander’s push to hire Oliva, with some calling it a “home runs” and steps to be “putting Freedom of Education back at the forefront.”
Florida Department of Education officials on Thursday thanked Oliva for her service.
“Over the past five years, Senior Chancellor Oliva has been a dedicated member of the Florida Department of Education leadership team, including serving as interim education commissioner, and his work has helped launch Florida as a State of Education,” the agency said in a statement. .