Dr. Nadine Ebri

is a passionate and innovative educator with over a decade of teaching experience in Duval County, Florida. With a Bachelor's in Elementary Education (2013), a Master's in Educational Leadership (2018), and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership (2023) from the University of North Florida, Nadine's dedication to education is evident in her impressive academic background. Nadine began her career in Title I schools, working with students from low-income and historically marginalized communities. Her unique approach to teaching, which embraces students' life experiences and promotes responsive teaching methods, has garnered national and global recognition. She is a published author of two books, "Living Through Poetry" and "Go Next Door."

Nadine's exceptional teaching skills earned her a spot as a Top 5 finalist among over 180 teachers for the Teacher of the Year in Duval County (2020-2021). Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, she maintained high academic standards and kept her students engaged. Her remarkable efforts were also recognized with the Jacksonville Elks Lodge No. 221 Teacher of the Year Award in 2021.

Transitioning from the classroom to a technology specialist, Nadine played a pivotal role in launching the Minecraft Lab in Jacksonville. This initiative combined education and technology, training educators in game-based learning using digital games. Her contributions have had a lasting impact on the integration of technology in education.

Currently serving as the Global Education Community Manager at Microsoft, Nadine continues to support educational leaders worldwide in integrating innovative technologies into education. She has been featured on the front cover of USA TODAY for her inclusive and engaging instructional practices and was recognized as one of EdTech Magazine's "30 K-12 IT Influencers to Follow" in 2023. Her outstanding contributions to educational technology were further acknowledged with the International Society for Technology in Education’s "20 to Watch" Award in 2023, which highlights educators and leaders who are making significant contributions to the field of educational technology and are poised to shape the future of learning on a global scale.

Nadine's leadership extends beyond the classroom. She served as the Education Chair for the Northeast Region of Leadership Florida (2023-2024) and serves as a global presenter at educational technology conferences, collaborating with school districts and leaders. As she runs for the Duval County School Board in District 1, Dr. Nadine Ebri brings her extensive experience, innovative mindset, and unwavering commitment to enhancing educational experiences, particularly in STEM. She is dedicated to amplifying the community's voice, including them in policymaking and decisions, and ensuring transparency and safety in the school system.


What are your priorities for Duval County Public Schools?

My priorities for Duval County Public Schools are to restore our public school system by focusing on amplifying community voices, ensuring access to innovative education, and promoting transparency and safety. Bringing the community's voice back into our school system is essential. School board decisions should be driven by the genuine needs of the community, not political agendas.

The proposal to close schools and cut hundreds of positions, coupled with the alarming trend of thousands of students leaving Duval County Public Schools, illustrates the urgency of involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process. According to recent data, in the past five years, Duval County Public Schools has experienced a decline in student enrollment. Nearly 10,000 students have left the district, exacerbating funding challenges and resource allocation issues. To address this, we must create consistent spaces for dialogue where community members, parents, and businesses can collaboratively develop solutions, rather than relying on occasional forums that fail to foster meaningful engagement.

Ensuring that all students have access to innovative, resource-rich education is another critical priority. Currently, there are significant disparities in the availability of programs and resources across schools, often forcing parents to transport their children across town to access better opportunities. For instance, some schools in Jacksonville offer advanced STEM programs, while others lack basic resources for science and technology education. Research shows that early exposure to STEM is vital for future career readiness, especially as the job market increasingly demands proficiency in technology and artificial intelligence. However, we currently do not see equitable access to STEM across Duval County Public Schools. Promoting transparency and safety within our schools is also important. Currently, accessing information about budgets, contracts, and major decisions can be challenging, which undermines community trust.

Ensuring that all financial and operational information is transparent and publicly available will prevent conflicts of interest and ensure accountability. Additionally, enforcing student code of conduct policies is crucial for maintaining a safe learning environment. Many teachers and students have expressed concerns about safety, with reports indicating that disruptive behavior often goes unaddressed. Addressing these issues will ensure that students can focus on learning in a secure environment and that the community is well-informed and involved in school governance.

Why did you choose these as priorities?

I chose these priorities because they address the most pressing issues facing our school system. The situation we are in now, with proposals to close schools, cut hundreds of positions, and the exodus of thousands of students from Duval County Public Schools, demands an all-hands-on-deck approach that includes the community, parents, and businesses. The 4.5% decrease in student enrollment over the past five years highlights the need for a collaborative approach to problem-solving and decision-making.

Ensuring equitable access to quality education is crucial, especially as research shows that early exposure to STEM is vital for future career readiness. The current STEM program participation rate in Duval County indicates significant room for improvement in providing all students with the resources they need to succeed in a technologically advanced job market. The gap between the skills students are taught and the demands of the job market is growing, and we need to address this by expanding access to quality STEM education.

Transparency is vital for rebuilding trust within the community. Accessing information about budgets, contracts, and major decisions should not be a challenge. Ensuring transparency will prevent conflicts of interest and ensure that the community is well-informed and involved in school governance. Additionally, the rise in incidents of school violence and disciplinary issues in the past year alone underscores the need for clear and enforced policies to maintain a safe learning environment. By focusing on these priorities, we can create a more inclusive, innovative, and transparent educational system that prepares our students for future success while fostering trust and collaboration within the community.

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?

Although school board members are elected by specific districts, their decisions impact the entire county. My approach and philosophy for making decisions in this context emphasize the importance of remembering that board members represent their communities, not themselves. School board members must prioritize the voices and needs of the communities that elected them. Often, members can become entangled in political influences or the interests of donors, losing sight of their primary duty to their constituents.

The system is designed to ensure equitable representation across all areas of the county, so each community has a voice on the board. When the seven school board members convene, they should collectively bring forward the insights and concerns gathered from their respective communities. However, effective representation requires active engagement. School board members must be deeply involved in their communities, regularly visiting schools not just for photo opportunities but to genuinely understand the issues at hand. This hands-on approach allows board members to make informed decisions that reflect the true needs of the schools, teachers, students, and community members. Their votes should be driven by the collective needs of the district rather than personal or political interests. By fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and active community involvement, school board members can ensure that their decisions serve the best interests of the entire county, promoting an equitable and effective educational environment for all students.

To enhance collaboration and ensure decisions are community-focused, I propose several strategies. Regularly scheduled community forums and town hall meetings provide a platform for open dialogue between school board members and the community. These events can be held in various parts of the district to ensure accessibility for all residents. Board members should spend time in schools, shadowing teachers, attending classes, and engaging with students to gain firsthand experience of the school environment and its challenges. Collaborating closely with Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) can help school board members understand the concerns and suggestions of parents and teachers, ensuring that their voices are included in decision-making processes. Building partnerships with local businesses can create opportunities for sponsorships, internships, and career programs for students. Businesses can also provide valuable insights into the skills and knowledge required for the local job market. Establishing community advisory committees composed of community leaders, parents, educators, and students can offer diverse perspectives and recommendations on various issues facing the district.Maintaining open lines of communication through newsletters, social media updates, and community bulletins ensures that stakeholders are informed about board decisions and upcoming initiatives. Hosting workshops and training sessions for parents and community members on topics such as school policies, educational standards, and how to effectively advocate for their children's education can empower the community to be more involved.

Encouraging joint projects between schools and community organizations can strengthen ties and create a sense of shared responsibility for educational outcomes. By implementing these strategies, school board members can enhance collaboration and ensure that their decisions are well-informed and reflective of the community's needs. This approach fosters trust and unity, ultimately leading to a more effective and inclusive educational system.

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? 

Over the last few years, the Florida Legislature has significantly impacted local public education, often in ways that challenge the stability and effectiveness of our schools. My top issues at the state level include the chronic lack of funding for schools, the diversion of funds away from public schools, the concerted efforts by politicians to dismantle the public school system, and the overreach of politicians into local school boards and elections.

Funding for schools has been insufficient and inconsistent, negatively affecting the quality of education. According to the National Education Association, Florida ranks 45th in the nation for per-student spending, with an average of $9,075 per student, far below the national average of $16,281. This lack of funding means fewer resources, larger class sizes, and diminished support for both teachers and students. Additionally, there is a significant push to divert public funds to private and charter schools. In 2022 alone, Florida lawmakers allocated nearly $200 million to expand voucher programs, further depleting resources available to public schools. This shift undermines the foundational principles of public education by creating a system where not all students have equal access to quality education.

Furthermore, political efforts to dismantle the public school system have intensified. Legislation aimed at limiting the autonomy of school boards and imposing state-mandated curriculums stifles local innovation and responsiveness to community needs. Additionally, the increasing politicization of school board elections, with significant financial backing from political action committees, threatens the integrity and focus of educational governance. To address these issues, I would work closely with legislators in Tallahassee to advocate for increased and equitable funding for all public schools. I would also champion legislation that protects the autonomy of local school boards, ensuring decisions are made by those who understand their community's unique needs. By fostering strong relationships with state legislators and actively participating in educational policy discussions, I aim to represent and advocate for the best interests of our students and ensure a robust and equitable public education system.

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 governance responsibility of the school board and the management role of the superintendent are distinct but complementary. The school board's primary responsibility is to set the vision, policies, and strategic goals for the school district. They represent the community's interests and ensure that the district adheres to state and federal regulations. The school board oversees the budget, approves curriculum changes, and makes decisions on school closures and openings. They also hire and evaluate the superintendent, holding them accountable for the district's performance and compliance with board policies.

On the other hand, the superintendent's role is focused on the day-to-day management and operation of the school district. The superintendent implements the policies and strategic goals set by the school board, providing leadership and direction to the district's staff and schools. This includes managing the district's administrative functions, such as human resources, finance, and operations. The superintendent is responsible for executing the board's vision by developing programs and initiatives that align with the board's policies, managing the district's budget, and ensuring that schools have the resources they need to succeed.

In summary, the school board sets the strategic direction and policies for the district, while the superintendent manages the implementation of these policies and oversees the district's daily operations. Effective collaboration and communication between the school board and the superintendent are crucial for the success of the district, as each role supports and enhances the other's responsibilities.

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?

To adjust the Master Facility Plan in response to the consultant’s proposal to redraw school boundaries, align feeder patterns, and consolidate small or under-enrolled schools, a comprehensive, community-driven approach is essential. First, a detailed analysis of the consultant’s recommendations and the financial implications, including the $1.4 billion funding gap due to pandemic-related inflation and state revenue-sharing laws, will be conducted. This ensures that decisions are data-driven and financially sound. Active and continuous community engagement will be a cornerstone of this process. Input from parents, teachers, students, and local businesses will be gathered through town hall meetings, focus groups, and online surveys.

However, community involvement will not end there. Regular updates and feedback sessions will be scheduled to keep stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the entire implementation phase. Partnerships with local businesses will be crucial in revising the Master Facility Plan. Businesses can offer valuable insights, resources, and support for educational initiatives, ensuring that any changes to school boundaries or consolidations are beneficial for both the schools and the local economy.

Equity considerations will guide all decisions, ensuring that any school closures or consolidations do not disproportionately impact marginalized communities. Alternatives to closing schools, such as repurposing facilities for community use or establishing partnerships with local organizations, will be explored to maintain neighborhood schools as community hubs. A phased implementation plan will allow for gradual adjustments, minimizing disruption to students and staff. Continuous assessment and flexibility will be prioritized, allowing the plan to adapt based on real-time feedback and changing circumstances.

Finally, collaboration with local and state legislators will be essential to secure additional funding and support for the transition. Advocacy for policies that protect public school funding and address the root causes of declining enrollment, such as the rise of charter schools and private school scholarships, will be a key component of ensuring the plan's success.

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?

First, focusing on resource allocation is crucial. Schools in low-income areas often lack the necessary resources to support their students effectively. According to recent data, DCPS has been using reserves due to declining enrollment, exacerbated by increased charter school enrollments and private school scholarships. Enrollment in charter schools has risen from fewer than 2,000 in 2009 to over 25,000 today, while private school scholarships have grown from less than 4,000 to more than 12,000 in five years. This loss of enrollment and funding impacts the resources available to public schools, particularly in low-income areas.

To combat this, ensuring equitable funding and directing additional resources to schools in need is essential. This can include hiring additional support staff, providing professional development for teachers, and investing in modern educational materials and technology. Collaboration with local businesses can also play a role, with companies providing sponsorships, internships, and other support to enhance educational opportunities. Additionally, community engagement is vital. Continuous involvement of parents, local organizations, and businesses can help create a supportive environment for students.

Regular town halls, focus groups, and advisory committees can ensure that the needs and concerns of low-income communities are heard and addressed. Furthermore, targeted programs aimed at closing the achievement gap should be implemented. These might include after-school tutoring, mentorship programs, and summer learning initiatives that provide additional support to students who are falling behind. Data-driven approaches to monitor student progress and adjust strategies as needed will also be important.

Finally, advocating for policies at the state level that ensure sustained and equitable funding for all public schools is crucial. This includes opposing measures that divert public funds to private entities, as these can further deplete resources from already struggling schools. By focusing on equitable resource allocation, continuous community engagement, targeted support programs, and strong advocacy, Duval County can better address inequities in student performance and support schools in low-income neighborhoods.






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