Why School Leaders

Our schools have made great progress, but inequities persist.

Public schools in Duval County have made great strides in the last ten years, but we have more work to do to ensure every student has access to a high-quality public school.

Great schools can only exist with great leaders. Effective principals are more likely to retain high quality teachers, and they are also more likely to dismiss poorly performing teachers. According to a national study conducted by Stanford University, students in schools with high-performing Principals will have between two to seven months of additional learning gains. There are virtually no cases of a school being turned around without a powerful leader. While there are numerous factors that contribute to successfully turning around a school, strong leadership is clearly the catalyst. 

This is the reason we are launching the School Leadership Initiative.


Based on national research on the most effective areas for principal growth, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund has established the following four Founders Fellowships:

The Fellowships will address each of these four growth areas, and they will provide executive coaching and grants for these Principals as well. Each Fellowship will provide support for the entirety of our Initiative. 


The School Leadership Initiative will serve Title I Elementary School Principals of both traditional and charter schools in Duval County. Elementary schools make up 52% of schools in Duval County and serve 43% of students. Elementary schools also provide foundational knowledge, ensuring students are prepared to succeed in middle and high schools.

The socioeconomic status of a school is the greatest predictor of student achievement. Schools with a Title I designation, indicating they have a higher concentration of low-income students, are not consistently performing at the level of their non-Title I peers. Since 2014, the number of low-income Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) students has increased by 12%. 

More than half of DCPS students are considered low-income. As you can see below, school grades show the disparity in performance between Title I elementary schools and non-Title I elementary schools in Duval County.


What are the goals of the School Leadership Initiative?

  • Increase student learning gains by strengthening the quality of school leadership in economically challenged schools.
  • Provide research on national best practices regarding  principal effectiveness to develop strategic approaches with district leadership.
  • Engage business and community leaders to provide broad support to School Leaders for leadership challenges.

The School Leadership Initiative

The School Leadership Initiative is a school-based and systems approach, designed to transform good Principals into phenomenal Principals.

School Leader Development

Launching Summer 2020 with Pilot Program Beginning Fall 2019

  • Engage business leaders to share wisdom and strategies with School Leaders.Support School Leaders in increasing teacher retention by providing recognition for service.
  • Provide a yearly Summer Residency focused on leadership, beginning Summer 2020, for 30 Title I Elementary School Principals.
  • Select 12 participants to continue in a three-year Founders Fellowship with executive coaching and grant funding.
School District Support

Launching Fall 2018

  • Bring together successful national education organizations and school systems with DCPS senior staff and board members for shared learning.
  • Research national best practices in school leadership and make recommendations
    to DCPS.


Upcoming Event

Election Day

This fall, voters will have a chance to determine the direction of our public schools through four School Board elections and a referendum on a half-penny sales tax for Duval County Public Schools.

  • Date: Tuesday, Nov 03, 2020
  • Time: 12:00AM to 11:59PM
  • Where: Your polling place
Learn More


2019 Education Poll

Support for half-penny for schools 

In JPEF's 2019 Public Perceptions Poll, the Jacksonville community said once again they would support a small tax for schools.

Learn More

Renaming Schools

You can help offset the costs of renaming six public schools that honor Confederates in their names.

Learn More