FLOYD T. CHRISTIAN
Floyd T. Christian will take office as State Superintendent of Public
Instruction with more than two decades (21 years) of school experience behind
him, 17 years as county superintendent of Pinellas County, the fourth largest
county in the State.
The first appointed county school superintendent in Florida, he has
served as president of two of the major school groups in the state and was
named previously to state office by two different Florida governors.
He served as President lf the Florida Association of County Superintendents
in 1954 and as President of the Florida Education Association in 1955. Governor
LeRoy Collins named him a member of the Florida Educational Television Commission
in 1955 serving as its first chairman, and in 1965 Governor Haydon Burns named
him as one of his first appointees to the newly-organized Board of Regents.
The school system he headed for the past 17 years was named in 1960 by
the American Association of School Administrators and the National School
Board Association as one of the twenty outstanding school systems in the nation.
Interestingly, he was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction in
Pinellas County in 1948, the same year State School Supt. Thomas D. Bailey
won election as State Superintendent, whose position Christian will assume on
He will be the-16th State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the
history of the state.
Christian started his career in education in 1937 as a teacher and coach
at Clearwater High School. In 1938 he served as Director of Athletics and
Head Coach at Fort Myers High School, remaining there until called to active,
duty as a First Lieutenant in the Army during World War II.
As Battalion Commander of a Field Artillery unit (the 697th) he served
in five major battles in Southern Italy, earned five decorations, and was
discharged as a Colonel in 1946. He received the Legion of Merit, French
Croix de Guerre, the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and the Italian Medal of
On his return from the Army, he spent two years as Administrator in charge
of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs in St. Petersburg.
In 1948 Christian was elected Pinellas County Superintendent of Public
Instruction and was re-elected in 1952 and 1956. In the 1956 election, when
a heavy Republican vote defeated all but three Democratic candidates in the
county, he was one of only two incumbents to be re-elected, receiving the
overwhelming vote of 62,660 to his Republican opponent's 33,886--the highest
vote received by any candidate for county office.
In 1957, when the county received approval to appoint its county school
head, he became the first appointed superintendent in the state. He was re-
appointed in 1960 and again in 1963.
Christian has been active on behalf of school improvement on county,
state and national levels.
Under his leadership, Pinellas County built more than 60 new school buildings
to keep pace with enrollment growth (up from 20,714 in 1948-49 to 76,890 in
1964-65), and operates one of the largest vocational technical education programs
in the state, with an agriculture center, a technical education center and two
comprehensive high schools.
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Last year's teacher salaries averaged $6770 (all instructional personnel)
ranking the county third highest in the state. (An index salary increase in
excess of $2 million and averaging between $300--$400 has been provided this year.)
Pinellas County led in development of educational television, with a studio
at St. Petersburg Junior College. The college has expanded from an enrollment
of 300 in 1949 to over 8,000 students, with a new campus at Clearwater.
The county was one of the first to provide a separate building for the
special education of physically handicapped children and the first to provide
teaching facilities for blind children in regular classrooms.
A corrective reading program was developed to provide part-time special
reading teachers in all elementary schools and a remedial summer reading
program made available for grades 1 through 12. The county operates kinder-
gartens at 28 school centers enrolling some 1800 pupils. Librarian services
are available at all schools including elementary schools.
Christian established a special division of educational services in the
fields of psychology, casework, educational testing and adult guidance
counseling, including placing full-time guidance personnel in every high
Curriculum programs in the fields of slow learner education, English,
reading, Earth sciences, biological sciences, advanced biology, advanced chemistry,
general science, and accelerated mathematics were developed. Foreign languages
are emphasized and Pinellas students can take five years of Spanish, French
and Latin, with 25 foreign language laboratories located in all senior high
schools and in two junior high schools.
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The county provides extensive opportunities for in-service education of
teachers, with special emphasis on reading, mathematics, handwriting, social
studies, and economic education.
On the state level, Christian served on numerous state education committees
and as President of the Florida Education Association during the 1955 Session of
the Legislature, helping to obtain big boosts in school funds.
That session, teacher salaries were raised $200 across-the-board, $25 per
teacher unit extra was provided for instructional materials (both passing
without a dissenting vote), driver education received its first major state
financing in the amount of $900,000, and the first state funds for junior
college buildings ($4,196,652) were provided.
As FEA president, Christian met with Governor LeRoy Collins and legislative
leaders and worked on the development and passage of the legislative program.
He spearheaded the successful fight which took school milk out from under
the price-fixing powers of the Florida Milk Commission, resulting in a drop in
the cost of school milk.
Nationally, he is an active member of the American Association of School
Administrators, serving on that group's advisory council and resolutions
committee. He represented Florida as the legislative delegate from the state
with the National Education Association and holds life membership in the NEA,
FEA, and Florida PT-A.
In 1961 he was selected by the U. S. Department of Commerce to serve as
consultant in setting up a program of educational television at the International
Trade Fair in Turin, Italy,
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Active in local community.affairs, Christian has been recognized many
times for leadership and service.
He has received the St. Petersburg Junior Chamber of Commerce Good Govern-
ment Award, the American Legion Outstanding Service Award, the American Legion
Citation for Meritorious Service, the Florida Athletic Coaches Association
Award for Meritorious Service, the City of St. Petersburg Award for Outstanding
Service, and designation as Boss of the Year by the American Business Women's
He is a Charter member of the Board of Directors of the Juvenile Welfare
Board, a member of the Executive Committee of the Boys Scouts, a member of the
St. Petersburg Rotary Club, and the Pasadena Community Church. He is a member
of Florida West Coast Educational Television, Inc., a non-profit organization
providing ETV for the area. He is listed in Who's Who in American Education
and Who's Who in America.
Christian was born on December 18, 1914, in Besseme; Alabama, moving to
Pinellas County with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Christian, in 1927.
He graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1933, received an AB degree
from the University of Florida in 1937 and a Master's degree in Education from
the University of Florida in 1950. He has done advanced studies at Peabody
College and served as Chairman of the Superintendents Work Conference at
Columbia University in 1954.
He is married to the former Margaret Littlejohn, of Clearwater. The
Christians have three children, Mrs. Claude E. Leiby of St. Petersburg,
Floyd Thomas Christian, Jr., a student at the University of Florida, and
Robert Rick Christian, 14, a junior high school student.
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