First Duval School Board Candidate Academy great learning opportunity


On June 26, all candidates running for School Board for Districts 2, 4, and 6 had an opportunity to attend the first School Board Candidate Academy (Academy) hosted by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. Sixteen of the 17 candidates participated. Duval School Board Candidate Academy is a new initiative of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund to connect candidates for Duval school board to important data and diverse community perspectives.

The level of engagement was high, and candidates were eager to ask relevant questions, especially to retired board members, governance expert, students, teachers and parents. Most candidates (80 percent) “learned something new and meaningful at the Academy” and “would recommend it to other candidates running for School Board in the future” (90 percent).

The Academy started with a Data Walk during which candidates, students, teachers and parents had a chance to review important information about Duval County Public Schools, such as indicators of academic performance and school safety, school discipline, and other facts and figures.

Candidates then listened to the perspective of Dr. Brad Balch, an expert in school board governance, followed by a panel discussion among Duval County retired school board members Brenda Priestly Jackson, Fel Lee and Martha Barrett. The afternoon continued with listening sessions led by students, teachers and caregivers for candidates to hear the priorities of education stakeholders.

The panel discussion with retired board members was the favorite Academy session, followed by the Data Walk.

“The former board panel was a wealth of information.”

 “The data walk was awesome.”

Overall, candidates had a positive experience and appreciated the opportunity to learn from diverse stakeholders regarding current issues and experiences with our public school system.

“Overall I thought it was a well-planned event.”

“It ran smoothly and I liked that there was a variety of different perspectives.”

Most candidates expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to learn and, more importantly, to listen to diverse student, parent and teacher voices from all areas of Duval County.

August School Board Elections Public Forums

JPEF believes it is critical that school boards and school board candidates listen to teachers and proceed with the intention to find ways to realize their hopes for the educational future of the district. This event was not empowering teachers, because they already have power. Rather, it provided them with the platform to elevate their voice. By having these critical discussions, we can continue to normalize and nurture community leadership and involvement.

Members of the public are invited to join us for the School Board Elections Public Forums that will be held in August at the Jessie Ball duPont Center at 40 E Adams Street. Click below to register or follow us on Facebook and participate in the forums LIVE from the comfort of your own home.

District 4 Public Forum - Aug. 7

District 2 Public Forum - Aug. 8

District 6 Public Forum - Aug. 9




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