UNF Athletes to Receive Education Scholarships as Part of 1,000 by 2025 Initiative



Amy Henderson




JACKSONVILLE, Fla., December 6, 2021 - Five diverse male University of North Florida athletes will receive $2,500 scholarships from the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) in partnership with the CEM Foundation as part of JPEF’s commitment to help recruit and retain 1,000 diverse male teachers by 2025.

JPEF’s original research in 2021 showed Black and Hispanic male teachers made up less than 10% of teachers in Duval County Public Schools, while Black and Hispanic students make up about 60% of the student body. The Duval County numbers mirror those across the country, where the shortage of diverse male teachers is also acute. 

Research has shown that all students benefit from having diverse teachers as role models. Students of color are disadvantaged by lack of teacher diversity as they are more likely to be seen as discipline problems and less likely to qualify for gifted and talented programs.

The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services is among the partners working in conjunction with JPEF to address the diversity gap. 

Teachers provide academic instruction as well as learning related to physical education and health in our public schools. Many teachers also serve as coaches for various athletic programs,” said JPEF President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune. “We are grateful to the CEM Foundation and our partners at UNF to be able to offer these scholarships to a diverse group of male athletes who are interested in pursuing a career in education.”

The scholarship recipients will also be provided with membership into JPEF’s IGNITE Young Professionals Group, sponsored by the CEM Foundation. 

“Along with providing scholarships, CEM is making it possible for these male athletes to have the opportunity to network with young teachers and professionals and learn first-hand about the efforts to close the education gap for low-income students and students of color,” said Fortune. 

JPEF’s commitment to the 1,000 diverse male teachers by 2025 initiative has received strong support among community organizations and funders, such as the NewSchools Venture Fund, which awarded JPEF a $200,000 grant for the diversity initiative.

NewSchools seeks out organizations that recruit and support the growth of Black and Hispanic teachers, leaders, and advocates and is helping education organizations adopt inclusive, equitable practices that advance the ultimate goal of improving the life outcomes of children.





From left: UNF Director of Athletics Nick Morrow, Jacksonville Public Education Fund President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune and Josh Woods, Director of Community Outreach and Impact, CEM Foundation.


About the Jacksonville Public Education Fund

 The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent think-and-do tank that believes in the potential of all students. We work tirelessly to close the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color. We convene educators, school system leaders and the community to pilot and help scale evidence-based solutions that advance school quality in Duval County. For more information: www.jaxpef.org.


About UNF’s College of Education and Human Services

 UNF's College of Education and Human Services is committed to developing life-long learners who contribute to their communities and succeed in a changing world. Our graduates become difference makers in professionally and personally rewarding careers immediately upon graduation.




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