Meet the Team: Elena Curtis


Elena serves as the Communications and Fund Development Manager for JPEF. She is a Jacksonville native whose career is rooted in the local nonprofit sector. Her passion for serving her fellow community members began in her childhood when she became involved with an organization providing support to the families of homicide victims. This experience – which ignited her drive uplift all members of her community – provided invaluable lessons in making lasting, meaningful connections with individuals from all backgrounds. 


Prior to this position, Elena served as the Development & Communications Manager for the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. She has also previously served as the Outreach Manager for Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP). During her tenure with RAP, Elena was responsible for independently managing the organization’s membership and sponsorship programs. Through strategic engagement and outreach she was able to increase membership by 5% in one year while also exceeding sponsorship goals. In this role she also assisted in the planning, management, and marketing of the Riverside Arts Market, a weekly market with more than 100 local vendors and 3,000 attendees. 


Elena lives in Murray Hill. In her spare time, you can find her admiring the St. Johns River, hanging out with her dog, Honey, listening to a podcast, practicing yoga, spending time in nature, or doing home projects with her boyfriend on their beloved 1940s bungalow. As proud alumni of Duval County Public Schools whose love of writing was fostered in DCPS classrooms, she could not be more thrilled to be involved in JPEF’s work to advance education equity.


Let's get to know more about Elena!

Tell us more about yourself and how you came to JPEF. 

I became aware of the impact of JPEF’s work when I was introduced to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund a few years ago and was impressed to say the least. When a colleague shared this opportunity, I felt like I had finally found my dream role. I could not be prouder to be part of a team that is deeply committed to closing the opportunity gap and supporting the success of all students. 

Why does public education matter to you? 

I believe that access to education is a fundamental right and essential to creating equity. To me, public education is our most valuable tool for ensuring that every child – regardless of circumstances – is provided a quality education. When we invest in public education, we 

become truly committed to creating a thriving community made up of engaged, successful citizens. 

Tell us about a teacher that impacted your life. 

It feels impossible to pick just one – so I’ll pick three. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Goodman, made the classroom a space that was difficult to leave at the end of each school day. She made sure that each lesson was accessible, interactive, and exciting. 

My ninth grade English teacher, Ms. Manuel, truly made me believe in my ability to pursue writing as a career. Beyond the educational lessons, she was a soft place to land while I experienced personal struggles. She helped me believe in myself both academically and personal, which still means a lot to me. 

During my time at the University of North Florida I had a journalism instructor, Professor Tatro, whose lessons allowed me to hone my ability to effectively and compellingly communicate facts. His educational style seemed to be based around making sure that students understood each lesson in a way that could be practically applied to their work in the future. I was glad to have the opportunity to study under someone who was both an expert in the journalism field and committed to the success of his students.




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