Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders will nominate Jacob Oliva as the state’s secretary of education. Oliva currently serves as senior chancellor at the Florida Department of Education and oversees the division of public schools. He is an alumnus of the sixth cohort of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program. The program identifies talented, diverse emerging leaders and integrates them into a community of practice, where they receive coaching and mentorship from members of Chiefs for Change and participate in a variety of other learning opportunities. During Oliva’s time as a Future Chief, he told the network how teachers helped to shape the person and leader he is today.
“Early on in my life, I had a few teachers who impacted me greatly, [including] Mr. Silva in middle school band,” Oliva said. “When I think about leadership qualities, I think I learned a lot from him and how he led a group of about 100 students to all come together and perform a song in unity. It was those experiences that I had with teachers that helped me fall in love with learning. I always wanted to give back and make a difference in children’s lives and help them achieve their goals.”
Oliva began his career in Flagler County, Florida, as an elementary school special education teacher. He was also an elementary and high school principal and an assistant superintendent and superintendent in Flagler County Schools before joining the Florida Department of Education in 2017.
“Growing up with a Cuban-born father, Jacob learned the difference that a high-quality education can make in a person’s life,” said Florida Secretary of Juvenile Justice Eric Hall, a fellow member of the Future Chiefs program who first worked with Oliva at the Florida Department of Education. “He has dedicated his career to making sure all kids have the learning opportunities they need to succeed. I know that Jacob’s wealth of experience and passion for the work will make a difference for students in Arkansas.”
Oliva earned a master’s in education leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s in elementary education and exceptional children from Flagler College.
About Chiefs for Change
Chiefs for Change is a bipartisan network of diverse school superintendents and state education leaders. The network supports members and provides technical assistance; advocates for the adoption of effective policies and practices; and develops the next generation of bold, student-focused superintendents.