University of North Florida President John Delaney (left) interviewed Duval County Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti on Tuesday at the JAXUSA Partnership meeting attended by more than 500 people at the Hyatt. Vitti, superintendent since November, emphasized that teachers are pivotal to ensuring that all students improve, regardless of their socioeconomic background. “The research is clear,” he said. “The No. 1 factor that determines student achievement … is the effectiveness of the teacher.” He said a lot of students in public schools are not advantaged. “Poverty is a real issue but we can’t make that an excuse.” He said people are demanding a better education system and he wants to make sure that public education reaches the youngest students. “We need to deal the achievement gap at birth,” he said. Vitti encouraged the executives attending to become involved in public education. Delaney chairs the JAXUSA Partnership, which is the economic development division of the JAX Chamber. He is in line to serve as chair of the JAX Chamber in 2015.