Bennett, Tony

Former Commissioner of Education - Indiana, Florida

For nearly 30 years, Dr. Tony Bennett has dedicated his life to educating students. He began his career in southern Indiana as a high school science teacher and basketball coach, quickly advancing to school administration while building a reputation as a leader with talent for school management, strategic planning, and effective budgeting. After serving as district superintendent, Tony was elected as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2009. He also served as Commissioner of Education in Florida before starting Education Reform Strategies, LLC, a consulting company focusing on supporting cutting edge reforms.

As State Superintendent, Tony led Indiana through what most consider the most comprehensive, student-focused education reform initiatives in the nation. Focused on choice, greater accountability and freedom, a partial list of Tony’s accomplishments included the creation of the nation’s most-expansive school voucher program, developing one of the top-rated educator effectiveness programs in the nation, and boldly taking over failing schools. During his tenure in Indiana, the state saw record high school graduation rates and participation and success rates in Advanced Placement courses and exams. Student achievement on the state’s ISTEP assessment also rose dramatically during that same period. Bennett’s leadership quickly earned him a national reputation among government and education leaders. In 2010, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Tony Government Leader of the Year and, in 2011, The Fordham Institute named him Education Reform Idol.

Tony’s high expectations for students and commitment to involving community partners have also made him a key player in the national education reform efforts. He served on the board of the Council for Chief State School Officers, the governing board of the Partnership for the Assessment for Readiness for College and Career (PARCC), and was a founding member and former chair of Chiefs for Change.

He received his doctorate degree in Education and his Superintendent’s License from Spalding University. He earned his Certification in Secondary Administration and Supervision, a Master of Science in Secondary Education, and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Indiana University Southeast.