Cindy Pearson

is the current District 3 School Board Member, parent to three students who have attended DCPS schools, and a DCPS graduate. She has been an effective and engaged board member who has brought more resources to schools and staff, prioritizes a safe learning environment for all students and works with parents to improve neighborhood schools. 

Prior to joining the school board, Cindy was named Outstanding School Volunteer for Duval County for raising thousands of dollars and volunteering hundreds of hours at her children’s schools. Since joining the school board, Cindy has participated in several education task force groups, served on Board of Directors for Florida School Board Association and worked with the Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Commission. 

Cindy completed Leadership Jacksonville (2023). She holds degrees from Florida State University (BA, Literature) and University of Florida (MS, Recreational Studies). She previously worked with Campus Crusade for Christ and City of Largo, FL. 

Cindy has been married to Scott Pearson for 30 years. Their children attend Florida State University and Wolfson High School.


What are your priorities for Duval County Public Schools?

  • Student achievement- moving DCPS from the bottom to the top of the Big 7 districts in student performance. 
  • Budget- stabilizing the district’s finances and rebuilding the fund balance.
  • Competing for students- learning why families are rejecting DCPS, addressing the issues, and working to restore community confidence in neighborhood schools

Why did you choose these as priorities?

The primary mission of any school board is to drive student achievement. We should be producing students who are prepared for their next steps whether that be workforce, military, trades, or university. 

Loss of students results in loss of funding. Decreased funding causes district staff to make cuts in programs and staffing that would be services and programs that both support students who need extra help and students who choosing between DCPS and another “choice” option. 

A second aspect of funding is to verify that the district is spending resources wisely. Every program, contract and facility should be evaluated for effectiveness and efficiency. When a district’s expenses outweigh its revenue, the imbalance stifles innovation.

Although school board members are elected by district, they make decisions for the whole of Duval County, which occasionally leads to conflict. What is your approach and philosophy for making decisions in this situation?

In the four years that I have served on the school board, we have taken up multiple controversial issues. My process has been to read and respond to constituent emails, talk with staff and other experts, listen to public comment, look at board policy, ask questions, pray, and make the decision that I think best serves students, staff, and families.

Over the last few years, the Florida Legislature has had a significant impact on local public education. What are your top issues at the state level, and how would you work with legislators in Tallahassee to represent the needs of our students?

  • Deregulation- the legislature passed three bills last session that provided some relief from regulations that had been placed on school districts but not on other choice options. I look forward to another round of deregulation legislation in the upcoming session. 
  • Full funding for high-quality, full-time PreKindergarten- funding PreK the same as K-12 would provide FTE for those students and would allow districts to count our youngest learners in facility usage numbers. It would allow PreK teachers to participate in the Florida Retirement System. It would affect absenteeism and parent participation in the workforce. Most of all, it would have a positive effect on third grade reading scores and student prospects after graduation. 
  • Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grant Program- expand to make middle and elementary school programs eligible 

How? Develop relationships with committee chairs, build a coalition of local support for each issue, cooperate with other school districts in advocacy

Please provide a description of how you would differentiate between the governance responsibility of the school board and the management role of the superintendent.

The school board determines the “what” (policy) and the “how well” (performance). The superintendent and staff are responsible for the “how” (procedure). 

The Duval County School Board recently heard a consultant’s proposal to redraw school boundaries, align feeder patterns, and consolidate many small or under-enrolled schools and has been collecting input from the community regarding the proposal. What will be your approach to adjusting the Master Facility Plan?

The impetus for having these conversations is a projected shortfall in capital funds caused by increasing construction costs and decreasing revenue (mainly due to loss of students but also because of legislative changes). Having a conversation about how to “right size” the district is appropriate. I think it was handled poorly. 

Feeder patterns and boundaries are one-third of the conversation. We also must look at programming and transportation. We need to investigate why students are leaving the district and how we can attract them back. We also need to invest in making all neighborhood schools a choice that parents and students are excited about. A strategic place to start is with neighborhood middle schools.

While Duval County has made great progress in education, there are still students who are falling behind. How would you maintain a focus on addressing inequities in student performance, including by supporting schools in low-income neighborhoods?

In the past four years, the board has directed staff to pay attention to the lowest performing students in all schools. Whether a student attends an A school or a D school, he or she should be receiving services to help bridge the learning gaps. 

We have strategic partnerships with groups like READ USA and City Year that provide extra support in the classroom and after school. We have purchased programs like Amira that help students (particularly ELLs) with reading fluency. Staff has changed the content and delivery of professional development and teacher planning. We are equipping after school program providers to help with homework. 

Going forward, I am interested in working with Literacy Alliance of Northeast Florida to identify and assist our students’ parents who have low literacy. I am also working with a collection of groups who are addressing our absenteeism problems. 






of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.