Toni Jennings

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Among the most prominent figures in Florida’s history, Toni Jennings has dedicated nearly 30 years to public service. A product of Orange County Public Schools, Jennings attended Fern Creek Elementary School and Glenridge Middle School. After graduating from Winter Park High School in 1967, Jennings earned her bachelor of arts degree from Wesleyan College.

She began her professional career as a fifth-grade teacher with Orange County Public Schools at Killarney Elementary. She later went on to become a member of the Florida House of Representatives. In 1976, when she took the oath of office, she became the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida Legislature and the first female Republican leader of either house of the legislature.

Her career of “firsts” continued when she was appointed Florida’s first female lieutenant governor, a role she served in from 2003 through 2006. During her time in office, she focused on a number of key issues, including education policy, hurricane preparedness and disaster relief. Jennings was also a member of the Florida Senate from 1980 to 2000 and its two-term president, from 1996 to 2000.

During this time, she also worked at Jack Jennings & Sons, Inc., a general contractor and construction management business founded by her father in 1948. From 1982 to 2003, she served as the company’s president, and in 2007, returned to serve as chairman of the board to work alongside her brothers to maintain the family business. Jennings still serves in that position.

Her contribution to the Central Florida community also includes service on numerous community boards, including Brown & Brown, Inc., the Florida Council of 100, the Nemours Foundation, Next Era Energy, Post Properties, the Winter Park Health Foundation and more. She is also a past member of the board of trustees for Rollins College.

Jennings has earned countless awards throughout her career. In 2002, she was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, was recognized as the “2004 Central Floridian of the Year” by the Orlando Sentinel, and received the “Distinguished Women” award from the Florida League of Women Voters, as well as the “Friend of Education” award from the Florida School Boards Association, among countless other honors.

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