Ray Sansom has been working hard at both the local and state levels to serve the county in which he was born and raised for 34 years. He has a unique set of experiences, a leadership style, and the demeanor that qualify him as the right fit to guide the Okaloosa County School District to a healthy place.
“We worked to create a culture that values learning and respects authority. This meant that we had to build the right team that would adhere to the policies that supported the teachers, allowing them to do their jobs.”
Having served in many educational leadership positions, Ray has worked with principals within the Rader Management Group to advance these schools with boldness, structure, and leadership to help students find their way to the path of success in education. When Ray was sent to a failing school as a principal, he took intentional steps to turn that school into a model for dropout prevention.
“I want to use my experiences in state government to bridge relationships between the legislature and the ways in which laws play out in the local schools. This is one way that I can use my unique qualifications for our school system.”
As a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2002 to 2010, Ray filed legislation to change the unfair education funding formula that placed Okaloosa schools at the bottom of the state in per student funding. In 2007, Ray was selected as House Budget Chair for the entire state, overseeing a 73 billion dollar budget. Ray demonstrated his passion for education by developing one of the best education budgets to date. In 2008, Ray became the 84th Speaker of the Florida House, the first in the history of Okaloosa County.
“In my position as a local government leader, I immediately focused on the toughest issues.”
When Ray was first elected to the Commission, our county was in the same condition in which the school district finds itself today. At that time the county Emergency Management Services (EMS) department was under a grand jury investigation for mismanagement. Ray was sworn in and elected to chair the Commission at his first meeting. As the chair, he was to appoint Commissioners to work with different departments. Ray appointed himself to work directly with the EMS. With focused leadership, Ray built a new team that would take this department on to win national recognition as the best EMS department in the country.