Amy Henderson serves as the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund
Tell us a little bit about you and how you came to JPEF?
It’s always been important to me to do work that positively impacts my community. As a journalist and then in my work with nonprofits, I was fortunate to get to do this by bringing to light injustices and telling the stories of people and organizations working to make positive changes in the world.
My sister and her family have lived in Jacksonville for nearly 20 years and I’ve fallen in love with this community. I knew this was where I wanted to live, work, and be involved with the community. I have a lot of teachers in my family, including my daughter, and the importance of quality public education was a value I grew up with. Being on the JPEF team is an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the world in a way that honors the work of my family members and teachers who influenced me and do it in a community that I love.
Why does public education matter to you personally?
I love the value proposition of public education: That we, as a community, believe so strongly in our children’s future that we will invest in their education, sight unseen. I am a product of public education, as are my children. I believe public education is a path to success and we need to make sure the path is clear for all students
Why are you excited to lead JPEF’s marketing and communications strategy?
I’m so excited to share JPEF’s success! JPEF is working on some exciting initiatives that have the potential to change lives of students in Duval County. I want everyone in Jacksonville to know about JPEF’s work and be a part of it. I think that’s one of the most exciting things about JPEF, we’re not doing the work alone. There are partners contributing to the success and we want to celebrate them, too. And, of course, we want to celebrate and recognize the educators who are working to close the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color.
Tell us about a teacher who made an impact on your life.
I was so fortunate to have many great teachers in my life! Three in particular were my fourth grade teacher, Beth Campbell; my sixth grade teacher Dan Henderson; and my high school English teacher Ruth Hooks.
Mrs. Campbell demonstrated in so many ways that she cared about us as people first. She wanted us to do well in school, of course, but she cared about what was happening outside of the school environment. Mr. Henderson was the first male teacher I had and I remember his classroom being very physical – he encouraged us to move around the room through “stations” we could visit between assignments. He introduced me to books I still love today, “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “Watership Down.” He encouraged our creativity and imagination by allowing us to create classroom games based on those books. Mrs. Hooks taught AP English and she believed in my ability as a writer, while holding me accountable at the same time. If I turned in anything that didn’t meet her expectations of me, she was quick to let me know! Everyone should have that teacher who supports you, sees you, and won’t let you give anything less than your full effort.