Dr. Patricia S. Willis is the Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) in Jacksonville, FL. Appointed in 2017, Dr. Willis serves the 20th largest school district in the nation, 130,000 students within 200 schools and manages a $1.7 billion-dollar budget.
No stranger to DCPS, Dr. Willis began her 35-year career in 1977 as an English teacher at Joseph Stilwell Junior High School and Stanton College Preparatory School. She was promoted to an assistant principal at George Washington Carver Elementary School and Ribault Senior High School; vice principal at Kings Trail Elementary, Greenfield Elementary and Andrew Robinson Elementary; and a principal at Gregory Drive Elementary, Susie E. Tolbert Elementary and Matthew Gilbert Middle School.
In 2004, she was promoted as the General Director for Professional Development for the District. She also served in the dual role of Chief Operating Officer for the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership and Chief of Professional Development. She retired from the District as the Deputy Superintendent in 2012.
Dr. Willis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Secondary Education from the University of North Florida, a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Nova University, and a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
She was honored to receive the 2013 Matthew W. Gilbert Alumni Humanitarian Award, 2012 NAACP Education Award, 2011 Harvard University, “Women in Education Leadership” Inaugural Class Membership, 2011 United Way Board of Trustee, 2010 PTA Lifetime Membership Award, 2010 Leadership Jacksonville Class Membership, 2009 Women of Color Education Award, and finalist for the 2009 Prestigious Eve Award of Northeast Florida. She also holds membership in the Jacksonville Women’s Network, The United Way Women in Local Leadership, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a nationally recognized community service sorority.
Dr. Willis’ spiritual and educational belief is that every child has the right to a great education and has dedicated and committed her life to accomplishing this moral imperative of providing a high quality education for all children.