Mayor Brown, Bill Cosby to Kick Off Education Summit

February 27, 2013  
Duval County Public Schools Superintendant Dr. Nikolai Vitti and Mayor Alvin Brown

Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education Will Give Keynote Address
Led by Mayor Alvin Brown, city education leaders and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller will kick off the inaugural Education Summit, featuring honored guest Dr. Bill Cosby. The two-day event, presented in partnership with Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and Duval County Public Schools, starts Thursday, Feb. 28, and will focus on strengthening parents’ roles in their children’s education. 
“This summit will leverage the current excitement about education in Jacksonville in our continued work to ensure every student in our city has the opportunity for a superior education,” said Mayor Brown. “Some very special guests are joining us and I’m excited to get to work. I’m honored that Dr. Bill Cosby and Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller will lend their experience and skill to this innovative event that will explore ways to increase parental involvement in their kids’ education.”

Bill Cosby will speak to students at local schools as part of the summit’s first day, and give a special performance at the Florida Theatre that evening. Tickets for the performance can be purchased through the Florida Theatre Box Office or online at and other sites including
The second day of the summit will take place Downtown on Friday, March 1, at the Main Library and focus on encouraging expansive community collaboration and increasing parental involvement. Deputy Secretary Miller will give the summit’s keynote address as part of the second day’s activities. The second day’s events are open to the public, but participants must register beforehand at
“I am excited to be joining Mayor Brown, education stakeholders, and the local community for this important summit, which will start a meaningful and ongoing conversation about education in Jacksonville,” said Miller. “Ensuring equal access to high-quality education should be top priority for every city in Florida, and I am pleased to be part of this innovative event geared toward improving education for every student.”
The summit will continue the positive momentum in public education engendered by a host of recent successes, including higher graduation rates, better school grades and unprecedented community activism.
“I know our students, faculty and staff are excited about having the opportunity to interact with Dr. Bill Cosby tomorrow,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Duval Public Schools Superintendent. “What a great kick-off to the Mayor’s education summit, and what a great way to raise awareness for public education. I am also excited to talk about increasing parental involvement by establishing a Parent’s Academy. The conversations related to this topic and the other mini-workshop topics on Friday will fold into the alignment of the district’s proposed strategic plan.”
Media can observe for Dr. Cosby’s school visit on Thursday at Raines High School from 10 to 11 a.m. Media is allowed in to the auditorium for the student discussion and can set up in the designated area, beginning at 9 a.m.
Mayor Brown, Dr. Vitti, Dr. Fran Kinne and Rev. Dr. H.T. Rhim will be available for media interviews on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Mayor’s Office at City Hall.
Since taking office, Mayor Brown has launched innovative initiatives geared at improving education in Jacksonville. For more information on Mayor Brown’s education agenda, visit
Feb. 28 – March 1     
Mayor Alvin Brown
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller
Dr. Bill Cosby, Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Duval Public Schools Superintendent   
Various locations in Jacksonville