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New College of Florida officials announce the members of a presidential search committee

A picture of the front of New College, with sign and trees
New College of Florida
The first meeting of the New College of Florida presidential search commitee is scheduled for April 27.

The 14-member board includes Sarasota County School Board Chair Bridget Ziegler and Sarasota County state Senator Fiona McFarland.

New College of Florida officials have announced who will choose the school's next president.

The 14-member search committee will review candidates as interim President Richard Corcoran presides over the college until September 2024, or until a new president is selected.

New College Board of Trustees member Matthew Spalding will serve as Chair of the Presidential Search Committee. Spalding is a professor at Hillsdale College, a small private Christian college which Governor Ron DeSantis has said he wants to model New College after.

During his first Board of Trustees meeting in January, Spalding made a motion to hire Corcoran as interim president after the board fired then-president Patricia Okker.

DeSantis began efforts to transform New College in early January by making six conservative appointments to its Board of Trustees. Weeks later, the Florida Board of Governors appointed a seventh, which gave DeSantis’s incoming choices an immediate majority on the board.

Other members of the presidential search committee include Sarasota County State Senator Fiona McFarland and Sarasota County School Board Chair Bridget Ziegler, who recently pitched hiring the consulting firm Vermilion Education to contract with Sarasota County Schools.

Vermilion also has ties to Hillsdale College.

According to a letter from New College Board of Trustee Chair Debra Jenks, a presidential search webpage will include brief biographies of the search committee members. Meetings of the search committee will be publicly noticed.

The first meeting is scheduled for April 27.

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