San Mateo Elementary School teacher Andrew Lodge was selected as one of five finalists for the 2023 Teacher of the Year in Duval County. As a Black male educator, that distinction had additional meaning and impact on him.
Building a legacy that transcends the school building
Rashad Reed is a teacher at Jacksonville's Biscayne Elementary School. He began his career with Duval County Schools in 2010 working as a security guard at the school. He obtained his degree in education from Florida State College-Jacksonville and became a full-time teacher in 2016.
I strive to the building of a legacy that involves hustle and transcends past teaching inside of school. I hunger for ways to reach children wherever they are at. It was this same inspiration that kept me afloat at city pools for JaxParks Aquatics as a lifeguard turned District Coordinator. During my tenure they recorded less incidents and better attendance than other sites. It was there that I realized my legacy… reaching people…actually relating to and help them. It drove me then and it drives me now.
This kind of grind was instilled by my Pops who is not my biological father but came to Ken Knight and picked me up as much as possible. He showed me that I can be from that neighborhood but not of it. He showed me that hustling doesn’t mean anything illegal, it’s a strategic work ethic that generates options. He is a General Contractor and instrumental to the rhythm of my harmonic development. I saw firsthand how to use my mind to break the glass ceiling that had imprisoned so many of my childhood friends…no one had reached out for them.
This is what also drove my passion and jumped out of me as a security guard at Mattie V. Rutherford. I could not ignore the generations of royalty that I was serving that did not know what they did not know. Some just wanted to be heard and when I listened, they told me their dreams. I instructed them as their Security Guard/ISSP teacher tutoring during my lunch. I didn’t use magic or even a college degree to reach them because I was them.
My drive comes from the ability to walk in places on both sides of the bridge from Hogan Spring Glen through Biscayne Elementary and to be the change that I seek. That’s why I love participating with The Ones, Diversity Coaching and 1,000 by 2025 Initiatives. JPEF gets that each one can reach one. Further proof of my hustle to extend my legacy can be found by visiting my class anytime just like Human Resources did to interview me as a Highly Effective Educator during the pandemic.
I’m inspired to reach children even at church as the Leader of the Youth Ministry at The Citadel Church of Jacksonville. This is a portion of my history but, more importantly this shows how strong male presence have been in my life both personally and professionally.
Duval County second grade teacher Nick Nelson writes about his experience as a teacher and what he is learning from his students.
JPEF president Rachael Tutwiler Fortune writes about education equity in the Florida Times-Union.