Award-winning documentary filmmaker shines a light on innovative inner-city teacher
Written, directed and produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Boaz Dvir, “Discovering Gloria” tells the story of Duval Elementary (Gainesville) teacher Gloria Jean Merriex’s transformation into a trailblazing innovator.
More than 400 people attended the first screening of “Discovering Gloria” recently in East Gainesville. The 90-minute program included opening remarks by Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dan Boyd and a post-screening panel discussion.
“Gloria’s innovative approach of teaching her students using rhythm, rhyme and movement is legendary in the Duval Elementary School community,” Boyd said. “Through this documentary, people outside that community will also have an opportunity to learn about Gloria’s methods and her many contributions to education.”
An exciting 40-minute documentary, “Discovering Gloria” shows Merriex engaging her math and reading students at the highest levels with her innovations, which included hip-hop and dance routines. In the film, University of Florida researchers who studied her methods describe how she broke vital new ground and emerged as a national model.
“She didn’t move to using music because she studied Howard Gardner’s work about multiple intelligences,” says Prof. Buffy Bondy, director of UF’s School of Teaching and Learning who researched Merriex’s methods. “She moved to using music and movement and the other strategies that she used because she studied her students.”
The also film shows how Merriex helped Duval leap from an F on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in 2002 to an A the following year.
“This documentary reveals her desire to do so much as a math teacher at Duval Elementary School,” said retired educator Andrew R. Mickle. “Her unique gifts run deep in both her personality and her beliefs in a special method of teaching math. The result speaks for itself.”