Meet the Team: Rachel Duff, Data & Research Manager
Tell us a little bit about you and why you’re so committed to Jacksonville.
I grew up here in Jacksonville and marked many personally important milestones in this city. I graduated from College of Education at UNF and taught for five years in Duval County Public Schools. I am committed to Jacksonville because I believe in the power and possibility within this city. I am consistently inspired by the dedication to progress I see from so many members of our community and I know that collectively we will move forward in the struggle for a more just and equitable world.
Why does public education matter to you personally?
Public education matters to me personally for more reasons than I could briefly share, but I will start in saying that public education can create a landscape of opportunities for young people to develop inquiry and explore their agency. I think public education is a force that can provide youth with the space and support to reflect on their perspective of the world around them. This matters so much because our youth -- and who they become -- will lead future generations into what will hopefully be a better world than we know now.
Tell us about your career path, and what you hope to accomplish next in your career at JPEF?
I went into teaching because I really do believe in the transformative power of education. I loved being a teacher and I am so grateful for that season of my life. I decided to pursue my graduate degree specifically for the Educational Transformation program offered at Georgetown. I wanted to further develop my skills in educational advocacy and policy in order to continue the work I was doing as a teacher but with a wider impact. I hope that in my career now with JPEF that I am able to apply my skills in research and data analysis to uplift critical topics of education in our city to improve the conditions for students, teachers, and families in Duval County.
Tell us about a teacher who made an impact on your life.
A teacher who made a lasting impact on my life is actually my own mother. She graduated from the College of Education at UF and went on to teach students with disabilities in a variety of school settings over the years. She most recently taught at the Jacksonville School of Autism before retiring. I was able to witness the dedication and commitment she demonstrated as an educator, and I learned to emulate those qualities in my own teaching career. Her support and example inspire me to this day.