JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown announced the Duval County Education Commissioner Tuesday at 9 a.m. at Jacksonville University.
Dr. Annmarie Kent-Willette, an award-winning educator and communications expert and she will serve on-loan for two-years.
"I welcome the chance to represent JU, work with Mayor Brown and continue the great work of Dr. Horner as I advocate for quality education in our city," Dr. Kent-Willette said. "As an educator, I believe we all must work together so students have extraordinary opportunities for educational success. I thank President Cost for his support and commitment to the greater Jacksonville community."
Mayor Brown along with Jacksonville University President Tim Cost, Duval County Public School Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and the Honorable Becki Couch Vice-Chair, Duval County School Board announced the new education commissioner.
"As a parent, accomplished professional and educator, Dr. Kent-Willette brings passion and insight into this important role to build partnerships and advocate for quality education throughout Jacksonville," said Mayor Brown. "We've already made great progress with efforts to build mentorship, expose more young people to the possibility of college and promote financial literacy for all ages. We must continue to intensify our focus and work together. The education commissioner plays a key role."
Kent-Willette has been honored for her work in education and is a three-time First Coast Scholar, where she was selected to teach seminars to K-12 teachers and academic coaches at the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership in Duval County. She was also selected as the 2008 Jacksonville University Woman of the Year, where she has taught as a professor of communications since 2001.
Kent-Willette currently serves as the higher education representative to the board of the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters, and has been an active leader in JU's shared governance, serving as a vice chair of its Faculty Senate. As a former television journalist, she teaches a variety of communications and service-learning classes domestically and internationally.
"We at Jacksonville University are thrilled to be able to provide another highly skilled, passionate advocate for education to our city," said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. "Dr. Horner made tremendous inroads with the community as the city's founding education commissioner, and I have no doubt that Dr. Kent-Willette will bring the same leadership and talent to this position for our schools and residents."
The education commissioner supports K-12 public education in Duval County as well as throughout the community with students who are home schooled or in private schools. The commissioner's goal is to positively influence education "from cradle to grave".
As the education commissioner, she will report directly to Mayor Brown and act as his senior policy adviser for all matters that pertain to education.
To improve the quality of education and make Jacksonville a lifelong learning community, the commissioner will also engage with all stakeholders in Jacksonville's education system that includes individuals in the public and private sectors, non-profit organizations, foundations, philanthropists, and community activists.
The Office of the Education Commissioner is funded by public-private partnerships at no cost to Duval County taxpayers.
First Coast News