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Media Releases: May 2, 2003

Assistant Principal Joy Taylor of Ketterlinus Elementary School (KES) has been selected as the St. Johns County School District’s nominee for the 2003 Commissioner’s Outstanding Assistant Principal Award.

This annual awards program honors assistant principals who have provided leadership in educational activities at the district and/or state and national level, contributed to improved student achievement, participated in continued professional development, and helped create a climate that fosters partnerships with parents and community members.

Joy Taylor began her educational career in 1979 as a language arts teacher at Flagler-Palm Coast High School. In addition to teaching grades 6-12, she coached swimming, track, the surf team and girls basketball and also drove the team school bus so the students could participate in away meets. She stayed there for four years and then after receiving her master’s degree in reading from the University of North Florida (UNF), she was hired as a reading resource specialist at Hastings High School.

In 1985 Ms. Taylor moved to Ketterlinus Middle School as a reading teacher. Five years later when Ketterlinus converted to an elementary school, she began her Education Leadership program and was hired as a dean at Switzerland Point Middle School. She stayed in that position for three years before moving to St. Augustine High School as Assistant Principal. Five years later she moved back to KES where both of her children were students.

Ms. Taylor has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and Educational Leadership certification from UNF.

According to KES Principal Skeeter Key, “Ms. Taylor is a master at working with others. Her talent of making learning fun is so visible on Literature Night and other special events. Parents and teachers appreciate her open door policy and approachability.”

Three winners from each of the five state regions will be selected for the Commissioner’s Outstanding Assistant Principal Award. Award recipients will be notified in September and invited to attend the Florida Association of School Administrators Annual Assistant Principals Conference. The winners will be honored at an awards luncheon held in conjunction with the fall conference.


Gina Fallica, Exceptional Student Education Aide at Osceola Elementary School, has been selected as the 2002-2003 School-Related Employee of the Year for the St. Johns County School District. The district winner was announced last evening during the monthly School Board Meeting. Stevenson Mitchell, a mechanic in the Transportation Department, was named the District Finalist.

This statewide program recognizes outstanding support personnel for their contributions to their schools and communities. Non-certified, non-instructional support personnel who serve at the school or district level are eligible for this award.

A districtwide screening committee reviewed all of the applications and selected this year’s winner out of 30 nominations. Ms. Fallica will receive a $200 award from the state and go on to compete at the regional level.

The St. Johns County nominee has worked in the district for the past eight years and has made her mark promoting reading and developing a recognition program for the Accelerated Reader program at her school. In addition to her love of literature, Ms. Fallica shares her love for children by serving as an aide to a special needs wheelchair-bound child.

According to OES Principal Elizabeth Blount, Ms. Fallica has both the professional and personal attributes that make her an asset to her school and also to the entire school district. She has taken a variety of in-service workshops, is a tireless volunteer at several schools and has been previously honored by her school as an exemplary employee.

Criteria for the award include exemplary job performance, dedication on the job, interpersonal skills, leadership ability, in-service/ training to upgrade skills and contributions to the school and school district environment.


Writing skills among St. Johns County students increased at the fourth and eighth grade levels and tied the state average at the tenth grade level, according to recently released Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Writing results. The statewide writing program is administered annually to students in grades 4, 8, and 10.

In grade four overall district scores increased from 3.5 to 3.7, above the state average of 3.6. At the eighth grade level scores increased from 3.9 to 4.0, compared to 3.9 for the state.
Tenth grade scores for the district tied the state average of 3.8.

St. Johns County also had a total of 126 students who scored a perfect 6 on the FCAT Writing Test, an increase of 62 percent over last year. Of that total, 15 were in high school, 67 were in middle school and 44 were in elementary school.

“We’re gratified that our overall writing scores continue to meet or exceed state averages,” said Diane Solms, Director for Instructional Services. “We’re also extremely pleased about the remarkable increase in the number of students who scored a perfect 6.”

The FCAT Writing is part of a statewide educational accountability program designed to measure students’ proficiency in writing. Students are required to write a response to an assigned topic within a designated time period. Writing prompts call for expository or narrative essays.

Scoring is based on four elements: focus, organization, support and conventions. The range of scoring is from 1 for a minimal attempt to a 6 for a well-planned organizational pattern.



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St. Johns County School District
40 Orange St. St. Augustine, FL 32084 904.819.7500