Rebecca Nathanson

Professional Experience: 
  • Experience guiding management decisions in a complex union environment while complying with policies and employment law and navigating requirements of collective bargaining agreements
  • Extensive experience developing and selecting workforce development curriculum
  • Conducted focus groups with two DCPS teacher groups, hearing directly from them regarding school safety, instructional needs, policy compliance and the Code of Conduct. 
Personal Experience:
  • Lifelong resident of District 3, and attended Duval County District 3 Public Schools from kindergarten to high school graduation.
  • Volunteered as tutor for English language learners in District 3 elementary and middle schools.
  • Served as volunteer and substitute teacher in a District 3 charter school. 
  • Have served my local church for over twenty years. 
Advocacy Experience:
  • Organized parents to expose a survey DCPS administered to thousands of middle and high school students, asking explicit questions about their sexual experiences, preferences, and gender identity. 
  • Served as public reviewer of DCPS Math and Social Studies textbook adoption process. 
  • Persisted in obtaining public records from DCPS after 8 months of no response.
  • Built relationships with Duval Delegation and Florida Department of Education in support of parental rights, increased transparency, and education freedom.


What are your priorities for Duval County Public Schools?

1. The literacy crisis. Right now, about half of all DCPS students are not reading at grade level. In some grades it’s less than half. This is a shocking and an urgent challenge. Our students cannot be put on a pathway to prosperity if they are not skilled readers. I will prioritize the wide-scale dissemination and implementation of the district’s Comprehensive Evidence Based Reading Plan. I will fully fund training for administrators, teachers, and coaches on evidence-based practices. I will work to incorporate this into all new teacher training programs, including teacher residencies. I will shine a spotlight on the state funding available to parents for reading tutoring through the New Worlds Scholarship. I have studied and will continue to study Miami-Dade, the state of Mississippi, and other districts and states which have turned the tide of dropping literacy rates. Then, I will drive the conversation and be relentless in ensuring our district does what works. 

2. School discipline and safety. Teacher retention is challenging in large part to how teachers are being treated by disruptive students and by administrators who fail to hold students accountable to the Board-approved Code of Conduct. I will prioritize the application and enforcement of the Code of Conduct, and support teachers who report feeling unsafe. The Duval Teachers Union is reporting an ever-increasing number of workers comp claims as a result of teachers being injured by students. The DCPS Police Department can no longer afford to ignore crimes on campus, including violence that leads to injury, disorder, and many teachers and families leaving the district. 

3. Wasteful Spending. The district currently operates within a $2.7 billion budget. More than a year ago, the Audit Advisory Committee discovered that DCPS spends significantly more per student than other large counties in Florida for transportation services and food services. Yet, nothing has been done. The Master Facilities Plan is facing a $1.4 billion shortage. The district spent millions of dollars of federal emergency relief dollars (ESSER), yet there are no results to show for it. I will scrutinize every contract brought to the Board, insist that all projects follow an RFP process that requires vendors to competitively bid. I will not vote for unnecessary spending.

Why did you choose these as priorities?

I chose these priorities because they are the most urgent concerns of the district's stakeholders: parents, teachers, students, and taxpayers. These are the top concerns I hear from voters. 

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?

All Board Members should state their position, provide valid arguments for or against different positions, while assuming goodwill and avoiding personal attacks. Board Members should vote their conscience and as elected officials, they should represent their constituents while seeking solutions that uplift the entire district.

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?

The top issues at the state level pertain the laws and regulations around facilities. As the district is facing big decisions regarding the need for school consolidations and new school construction, it is bound by some challenging constraints that could be eased by the Florida Legislature. I would also advocate for more funding for CTE programs as well as funding to train all teachers, reading coaches, and students of colleges of education in the science of reading.

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 sets policy and vision for the school district. The Superintendent is responsible for carrying out that vision by implementing and complying with the policies. The Board is then charged with evaluating how well the Superintendent performs in implementing and complying with their policies. 

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?

My approach would be to consider all of the other factors that the consultant did not consider, including school grades, unique programs within schools, community and family support, etc. This is includes listening carefully to public input. There are many other considerations than what the consultant initially included, and so this plan should and will change from the first draft submitted to the Board.

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?

Schools that are higher need deserve more supports. I would prioritize recruiting excellent, experienced teachers to work in the highest need schools, with a laser focus on literacy instruction in grades K-3.The Board and administration must prioritize the state's Reading Endorsement for teachers certified in reading.

I will scrutinize the coaching model and professional development required of all literacy coaches, and require that they be assigned to schools based upon greatest needs.






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