Dr. Annmarie Kent-Willette (far right) introduces herself as Jacksonville's new education commissioner. Joining her, from right to left, are Mayor Alvin Brown, Duval schools superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti, and school board vice chair Becki Couch.
Mayor Alvin Brown announced a new education commissioner for the city of Jacksonville Tuesday morning at Jacksonville University.
Dr. Annmarie Kent-Willette has been a communications professor at Jacksonville University since 2001 and in her previous career was a broadcast journalist. She has her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida. She replaces Dr. Donnie Horner, who was the city's first education commissioner appointed back in 2011.
Dr, Kent-Willette, like her predecessor, is an executive on loan to the city from Jacksonville University and will cost taxpayers $1 per year.
"I love that public-private partnership!" said Mayor Brown as he introduced Kent-Willette at Terry Concert HAll at Jacksonville University. He was joined by JU president Tim Cost, Duval school superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti, and school board vice chair Becki Couch.
Dr. Kent-Willette says she looks forward to working with the mayor and superintendent as an advocate for improving education in Jacksonville and says she plans to use her communications background to be its voice. She says in addition to reviewing current initiatives and working with other agencies to develop new ones, she says she also plans to be ready to deal with any sort of crisis situations that may arise, just as Dr. Horner was.
"What exactly can an education commissioner do? Well ask the JROTC students who still have their program, or the middle school students that still play football," said Dr. Kent-Willette.
The Education Commissioner's job is to focus on improving K-12 education in Duval County schools by bettering educational programs and engaging with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. The commisioner reports directly to the mayor and serves as his top advisor on all educational matters in Jacksonville.