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Former Board of Governors chairwoman tapped to lead Florida Polytechnic

Ava Parker has resigned her seat on the board overseeing state universities in order to accept the position of interim chief operating officer at Florida Polytechnic University.

Parker has served on the Board of Governors for about a decade and was chairwoman last year when the board initially voted to allow Polytechnic to spin off from the University of South Florida, as well as during the Legislature's controversial maneuvers to make the split immediate. Her first day at Polytechnic is Dec. 1 and she has agreed to serve for two years, according to a news release from the university.

As interim chief operating officer, Parker will be tasked with helping to shape this new university, the state's 12th. Her duties will include hiring staff, developing the new campus and helping to get the school accredited while also recruiting students.

"As we started to think about the interim leader of the Polytechnic, it became clear that we needed someone not only with a background in higher education, but with real-world savvy to help us communicate our vision to the many, varied stakeholders interested in seeing this university succeed,” said Rob Gidel, chair of the Florida Polytechnic Board of Trustees. “Ava Parker is the right person for the job. We are excited she agreed to take on this challenge."

An attorney by trade, Parker also resigned today from the Board of Governors. Her term was up in January.

“Ava Parker would be a great asset to any organization that is lucky enough to have her. We wish her the best," said Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson.

Here is the full news release:

LAKELAND — The Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees on Monday chose an interim chief operating officer who will help make the crucial first steps in getting the new institution off the ground.

Ava L. Parker, a Jacksonville lawyer with more than a decade of experience in higher education, has agreed to serve as Florida Poly’s leader for a period of two years, beginning Dec. 1. She will help shape the institution's mission and vision, oversee the ongoing development of the new campus, hire key staff, and ensure that the institution stays on track to academic accreditation as it recruits its first students.

"As we started to think about the interim leader of the Polytechnic, it became clear that we needed someone not only with a background in higher education, but with real-world savvy to help us communicate our vision to the many, varied stakeholders interested in seeing this university succeed,” said Rob Gidel, chair of the Florida Polytechnic Board of Trustees. “Ava Parker is the right person for the job. We are excited she agreed to take on this challenge."

Parker is the president of Linking Solutions Inc. and a practicing attorney at Lawrence & Parker P.A. She served on the Florida Board of Governors for nearly a decade, resigning on Monday. She also previously served on the University of Central Florida Board of Trustees. She received her bachelor and law degrees from the University of Florida.

"Florida Polytechnic University represents a unique opportunity for our state, and I'm looking forward to being a part of it,” Parker said. “I'm confident that my experience in serving our other great public universities will help Florida Polytechnic become not only a world-class institution in itself, but an integral part of the State University System of Florida."

Comments

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There you have it

Everything makes sense now. Everything. Ava Parker was Chair of the BoG when it approved the 12th University for J.D. at one of its meetings that he attended and lo and behold here we are. This would be fascinating except it is mindboggling. Would make a good book after it makes a great state investigation. The wife of a state legislator who lives in Broward County while she's at the other end of the state in Jacksonville running a law firm. That was bad enough. Now she's going to Lakeland?

Danny

Um, the Poly board is full of Republicans and she and her husband are far left Liberals. Find a more qualified candidate who would want to be a part of that mess and you may have an argument. Im impressed they even filled the position at all. Shes best person for the job but good luck searching for Obama birth certificate.

What??

She has a law firm to resign from to be paid full-time for state of Florida work, right??
She resigned her BoG seat. Well that is her political appointment with no pay and where is the Herald story about two homestead declarations. Wonder if her husband even lives in his district anymore. Now that his wife has a new extra paycheck at least they can buy a house in Lakeland too and help prop up the economy here!

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