2017 Florida Teacher of the Year inspires, empowers Duval teachers


Quality public education produces the best opportunities for students to reach their goals and become meaningful contributors to our city. Based on my experiences as an educator, I believe that having a great teacher is the single most important factor in student success. This is why we are committed to celebrating and growing the capacity of our 177 school-level Teachers of the Year by connecting them with opportunities for professional learning and networking.

2017 Florida Teacher of the Year shares the value of a "Growth Mindset" with Duval teachers

Florida Teacher of the Year, Jessica Solano

Jessica Solano, 2017 Macy's Florida Teacher of the Year, shared with our teachers the research behind an emerging idea in education: growth mindset. Solano explained that knowledge is not a fixed trait, and is instead something that can grow and change over time. Solano further shared that with a growth mindset, teachers are free to make and learn from mistakes. Mistakes are truly something to be celebrated in our classrooms, and we all get better when we embrace and learn from them.

Solano also encouraged teachers to set “gutsy goals” and to have “high expectations” for each and every student. She encouraged Teachers of the Year to help their students employ a growth mindset and to encourage their colleagues to do the same.

Teach of the Year Ceremony

Here’s what a few of Duval's school-level Teachers of the Year had to say after the program:

“I loved this program! It’s always nice to see things implemented in the classroom based on research.”

“I enjoyed the hands-on and getting to meet with other teachers and the ability to just enjoy the wealth of knowledge. Thank you for all that you do for us.”

When teachers are provided with meaningful professional learning experiences, their students benefit. In an exit survey, 100 percent of the teachers who responded agreed that “the information they received about growth mindset will impact their teaching practices.” Additionally, 100 percent of the teachers who responded agreed that “they felt inspired listening to Solano.”

How are you celebrating teachers in your community? What can we do as a community to better celebrate and empower our school-level Teachers of the Year? Join us February 2 at the 27th Annual EDDY Awards and help us celebrate the 177 school-level Teachers of the Year and find out who among them will represent Duval County at the state competition! Space is limited, so buy your ticket today.

Can't make it to the EDDy's this year? We invite Jacksonville residents from all walks of life to reflect on the impact a teacher has had in your life and help us reach 100,000 messages of thanks for these public servants who lay the foundation for what our city is and what it has the potential to be. Use the following questions as a guide:

  • What is your name? What do you do?
  • Growing up, who was the teacher that had the biggest impact in your life?
  • Why is it important for kids today to have that same kind of support?
  • If your teacher was standing in front of you today, what would you want him/her to know? What would you say to this person who was so influential in your life?

We want YOU to help us reach 100,000 messages of thanks on social media to show our teachers that we know about and appreciate all of the hard work they do to ensure that students grow into responsible citizens who can contribute in meaningful ways to our great city! Share your response on your personal Facebook or Twitter using the #JaxThanksATeacher. Make sure the privacy settings on that post are set to public, and tag @JaxPEF.

You could be featured on our Facebook or Twitter or even become part of an interactive traveling exhibit! For Jacksonville to become all that we know it can be, it will take each and every one of us working together. Learn more about our efforts to help teachers feel valued at www.jaxpef.org/TeachersAreMore.





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