board member profiles
1 | The Honorable Cheryl Grymes
The Honorable Cheryl Grymes is the current Vice Chairman of the Duval County School Board. Ms. Grymes is a Jacksonville native who is passionate about our community and public education. For more than 25 years, she has been involved in public schools from many perspectives and believes significant change and reform are needed to assure a quality education for all students.
Ms. Grymes is a graduate of Wolfson High School and received a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of North Florida and an executive nonprofit management certificate from Georgetown University.
She became involved in the public school system as the mother of four daughters who graduated from public schools. She served as the district’s PTA president and was elected to the School Board in 1992 for two terms, where she served as chairman and vice-chairman.
As the executive director of the Alliance for World Class Education, she worked with top-level business executives to assist with developing leaders and improving efficiency within the business operations of the district. Ms. Grymes also helped transition the Alliance into the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. Currently, she is the vice president of development for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida, an organization that places caring adult mentors in the lives of children facing adversity.
Over the past years, Ms. Grymes has served on numerous boards and commissions. Her current volunteer activities include serving on the Jacksonville Chamber Education & Workforce Development Committee and the Education Practices Commission. She serves as a community coach through the Nonprofit Center and provides mentoring and resources to nonprofits within the community. Her favorite volunteer activity is being with her little sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
She lives with her husband Warren, and they have four daughters, two sons and two grandsons.
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District 2 | The Honorable Fred "Fel" Lee
The Honorable Fred "Fel" Lee represents District 2 and served as board Chairman in 2012-2013. He is a native of Jacksonville and graduated from Terry Parker High School before going on to get a Bachelor of Science Degree in engineering at the University of Florida. As an engineer and executive, he brings a diverse management background from Fortune 500 companies such as AOL/Time Warner, Seagram Company, and CSX Corporation. In addition, he is a market investor and has been a small business owner. Prior to his election to the School Board, he served as a Councilman and Vice Mayor for the City of Neptune Beach.
His past community involvement includes the American Heart Association's Greater Southeast Affiliate Board of Directors and Chairman of First Coast Community Board. He is currently an active member of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville – Oceanside and is a Rotary Benefactor and six-time Paul Harris Fellow. At the University of North Florida he serves on the Dean’s Education Advisory Council of the College of Education & Human Services and on the Board of External Advisors for the Center for Urban Education and Policy.
Fel is currently serving as the board liaison for the Florida High School Athletic Association. He is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville. Fel and his wife, Karen, and their four children have all attended Duval County Public Schools.
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District 3 | The Honorable Ashley Smith Juarez
Ashley Smith Juarez is an educator, a champion for students and a Jacksonville native devoted to her city.
She understands that quality public education is essential to individuals and communities reaching their
potential. Ms. Smith Juarez graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree in
secondary education and history. She serves as the Northeast Florida Regional Director for the Clinton Foundation’s
Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), promoting cross-sector collaboration for a healthier community. Prior to CHMI
she served as the executive director of the Chartrand Foundation a family foundation committed to excellence in
Early Childhood through grade 12 public education. She has served as a teacher and coach in public and independent
schools and has worked in dropout prevention serving students in 13 Duval County schools. Throughout her career,
Ms. Smith Juarez has partnered with parents, guidance counselors, teachers, principals, mentors and struggling
students to bring about long-term success. She is a three-time recipient of the duPont Excellence in Teaching Award.
In addition, Ms. Smith Juarez currently serves as the Vice President of the Family Support Services Board of
Directors, a trustee at The Emily Balz Smith Foundation, a member of The Women’s Giving Alliance Steering
Committee and as a member of the WCJT Board of Trustees. She lives in the San Marco area with her husband Alex,
a local business owner, and her dog Sam
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District 4 | The Honorable Paula D. Wright
The Honorable Paula D. Wright represents District 4 and was elected to the Duval County School Board in August 2010. A Jacksonville native, Paula graduated from Edward H. White High School and Jacksonville University where she earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in English. Paula brings a rich and diverse background having experience as a manager in the corporate world, newspaper publisher, radio talk show hostess, athletic coach, and an educator in both post-secondary and public school education. Most recently, she was employed as an administrator in the High School Acceleration Programs Office in Duval County, where she transitioned from teaching 8th grade Language Arts and Reading, served as a school-based Reading Coach, and head coach of the girls’ basketball and swimming teams, all at Northwestern Middle School. She also served as a District Literacy Coach and a Specialist in the Academic Services Department. Paula, as an adjunct, taught remedial English at two local colleges, Florida State Community College (then Florida Community College at Jacksonville) and Edward Waters College for more than ten years. As a committed educator, Paula throughout her adult life has dedicated time to mentoring students, serving as an active PTA member at multiple schools, and being involved in the community. Paula is an experienced educator, a motivational speaker, and a member of the PTA of several schools. Publishing The Jacksonville Chronicle Newspaper and hosting ViewPoint with The Honorable Paula D. Wright, a live radio talk show, afforded Paula the opportunity to not only inform citizens of important issues impacting their lives, but to keep her finger on the pulse of the community. Paula is an active member of St. Matthew Baptist Church, and she has served in many capacities including on the Springfield Preservation, and Restoration Board, the TRUE Commission, the Duval County Desegregation Committee, Junior Achievement, NAACP Education Committee, as well as other community organizations.
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District 5 | The Honorable Dr. Constance S. Hall
The Honorable Constance S. Hall, PhD is a lifelong educator with more than three decades of service to the Duval County School System was elected to the Duval County School Board for District 5 on August 14, 2012. She is native of Jacksonville, Florida and attended the local public schools. Her education continued to include a B.A. degree from St. Augustine’s College, Raleigh North Carolina, a M.S. degree from Nova Southeastern University and her Ph.D. from Florida A&M University. She has worked across the Pre K-12 system as a teacher, principal, and district administrator. Dr. Hall served as principal at four schools – two elementary and two middle schools. Upon retirement from the school system she served as Campus College Chair of Education for the University of Phoenix North Florida Campus and mentored doctoral students at Capella University. She presently holds Lifetime membership with the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE), the Florida PTA and the NAACP. She currently serves on the City of Jacksonville Public Service Grant Council. She is also a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville and an EVE Award Finalist in Education. Dr. Hall’s tenure and deep knowledge of the Jacksonville community led her to identify pockets of success across the district. Her interest remains in developing the cultural norms and processes that will allow success to grow, and provide every student with real opportunities for accelerated achievement.
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District 6 | The Honorable Becki Couch
The Honorable Becki Couch is the current Chairman of the
Duval County School Board. She was elected to the Duval
County School Board to represent District 6 in August
2010. Ms. Couch is a native of Jacksonville and a
graduate of First Coast High School. She holds a
Bachelor’s degree in Health Science from the University
of North Florida. She left the position of Patient
Services Manager for St. Luke’s Hospital to begin
teaching at Baldwin Middle Senior High School, where she
taught for ten years. In 2009 she was selected as
Baldwin’s Teacher of the Year and was a semifinalist for
the 2009 Duval County Teacher of the Year. In 2007, Mrs.
Couch was also awarded the Jacksonville’s Character
Counts Character Builder award. Her community
involvement includes co-chair and team captain for the
American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, member of the
West Jacksonville Civic Association, member of the
Chaffee Trail PTA, co-chair for the 2010 Duval County
Teacher of the Year selection committee, and the DAILY
Junior Achievement initiative. Becki is currently
serving on the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville
Chamber of Commerce, Schultz Center for Teaching &
Leadership, and Jacksonville Public Education Fund. She
has been actively engaged in lobbying for education
through her service as the 2012 Chair of the Advocacy
Sub-Committee for Florida School Boards Association, the
2013 Chair of the North East Florida School Board
Coalition, and as the Chair of the Florida School Boards
Association Legislative Committee. Ms. Couch has
received the Certified Board Member Distinction for 96
points of professional development with awareness in key
areas such as, boardsmanship, school finance,
state/federal legislation, school law, and
policymaking/policy oversight. She and her husband,
James, have two children who attend Duval County Public
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District 7 | The Honorable Jason Fischer
The Honorable Jason Fischer is a Jacksonville native who is passionate about education reform. He is an engineer, an experienced negotiator,
and a dedicated public servant. After graduating from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering,
Mr. Fischer went to work at Florida Power & Light where he honed his engineering and management skills. In 2006, he seized the opportunity to
serve his country and would spend the next five years supporting the global war on terrorism (GWOT) as a civilian engineer with the United States
Navy. As an engineer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command he was responsible for managing energy policy and utility infrastructure at
several Navy bases in the Southeast. In 2010, he was recognized by his peers at the Association of Energy Engineers for his important work and
earned the distinction “Legend in Energy.” In 2011, Jason transitioned his career back into the private sector and went to work for CSX, one of
the country’s largest transportation companies. At CSX Mr. Fischer was responsible for successful negotiations of energy and utility contracts in over 20 states.
Jason currently works for URETEK Holdings and is in charge of their business development in the Jacksonville, Florida, metropolitan area. Jason believes in
being an active and responsible citizen. In 2012, he became the youngest person ever to be elected to the Duval County School Board. He serves on the Board of
Directors of Society of American Military Engineers, is a member of an FBI task force on security, and is an active volunteer in the community. He and his wife,
along with their young son, reside in the Mandarin area.
Email The Honorable Jason Fischer