Duval Voters Elect 3 New School Board Members

Nov 6, 2018

Duval County’s three school board races were decided Tuesday. Elizabeth Andersen, Darryl Willie and Charlotte Joyce will take seats on the seven-member board.

District 2- Beaches

Elizabeth Andersen beat Nick Howland with 58 percent of the vote.

Andersen is a former Duval County English teacher who changed careers to become a therapist. She opened a practice specializing in children and families and said she works with kids in schools.

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When asked about the biggest challenge facing Duval schools during an August candidate forum, she said enrollment, retention and student engagement.

“When our student enrollment is down, we don’t have enough students and we’re not able to get money into our schools. When we’re not able to get the money into our schools, then we can’t hire the teachers we need,” she said, adding she believes teachers need a pay increase.

When asked about her position on charter schools, which are public but privately managed, Anderson said while some are doing a great job she’s been in charters with unstructured environments and teachers who aren’t properly certified.

She said charter schools were created to offer innovation to be brought to traditional schools.

Andersen replaces Scott Shine who decided not to run for reelection.

Andersen’s opponent, Howland, who received 41 percent of the vote is a Navy veteran and Jacksonville businessman who is also a father to two Duval County students. He had the endorsement of the political arm of the Jax Chamber.

District 4- Northside, Eastside

Darryl Willie beat Cynthia Smith with 51 percent of the vote. Willie, a former teacher,  is the executive director at Teach for America Jacksonville, where he recruits, selects and trains teachers for Duval County Public Schools. He had the endorsement of the political arm of the Jax Chamber.

When asked about the biggest challenge facing Duval schools during an August candidate forum, he said Inequity.

“If you look at the map and see where our failing or chronically low-performing schools are, they’re mostly in the north and northwest side,” Willie said.

He said low-performing schools should be focused on with wrap-around services, mental health services and even options like longer school days or school years.

When asked what should be done about underutilized schools, specifically Andrew Jackson High, Willie said Jackson has a quality magnet program, but it should be marketed better. He said the district has to think about creative ways to utilize the school with different programs and have a long-term plan.

Willie replaces termed-out Paula Wright who is the current school board chair.

Willie’s opponent, Smith, who received 48 percent of the vote, has been with Duval County Public Schools for a combined 16 years working as a clerk, bookkeeper, teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal.

District 6- Westside, Riverside

Charlotte Joyce beat Dave Chauncey with 59 percent of the vote. Joyce started as a teacher at Joseph Stilwell High, which is now a military leadership magnet school. She serves as the school’s magnet coordinator and also founded the school’s Leadership Booster Club.

When asked about the biggest challenge facing Duval schools during an August candidate forum, she said its reputation.

“Duval County Public Schools is just a few points away from an ‘A,’” she said, “but the problem is we have a bad reputation.”

Joyce also said the district needs to strengthen its code of conduct and put teachers back in charge.

When asked her position on charter schools she said she’s In favor of school choice, saying  charters are like learning laboratories. She said ideally a district would bring their successes into other schools.

“The school board needs to have good oversight over the charter schools, and it needs to stay at a local level,” she said.

Joyce replaces termed-out board member Becki Couch.

Joyce’s opponent, Chauncey, who received 40 percent of the vote, is a former Ribault Middle School social studies teacher. Now a lawyer, he advises schools and colleges around the state and leads the Ribault High Future Lawyers Mentorship program. He received the endorsement of the political arm of the Jax Chamber.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.