Stephanie KopelousosStephanie Kopelousos
Stephanie Kopelousos

Former Clay County manager will head tourism district

Published on March 27, 2024 at 3:07 pm

Stephanie Kopelousos, a former county manager in Clay County, will become administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which oversees an area dominated by Walt Disney World properties.

Kopelousos has been legislative and intergovernmental affairs director for Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recommended her for the new job. The board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District unanimously accepted the recommendation Wednesday.

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Board Vice Chairman Brian Aungst pointed to Kopelousos’ resume, which included serving as Florida Department of Transportation secretary under former Gov. Charlie Crist and later as Clay County manager. She left the Clay County job to join DeSantis’ staff in 2018.

“When you’re looking at central casting for this very, very unique general-purpose government special district, which is unlike any other special district in the country, those two skill sets — being able to deliver on massive infrastructure projects while also managing a general-purpose government and ensuring that the district, our constituents and the people of Central Florida have the resources and the infrastructure they need to be successful, which is our most important job — I couldn’t have asked for a better candidate,” Aungst said.

Kopelousos will replace Glen Gilzean, whom DeSantis appointed March 4 as Orange County supervisor of elections. The board of supervisors approved offering a contract matching Gilzean’s contract, which included an annual salary of $400,000 a year.

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Kopelousosgrew up in the Kingsley Lake area of Clay County, attended St. Johns Country Day School in Orange Park for a time and graduated from Bradford County High School, according to the Florida Times-Union.

DeSantis and lawmakers created the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District last year to replace the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, which had close ties to Disney companies.

The move came after Disney angered DeSantis by opposing a law that restricts instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

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