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Media Releases: October 20, 2003

Sheriff Neil J. Perry and former Hastings high school physical education teacher and basketball coach Doris Blackshear have been selected as the recipients of the 2003 Learning Legacy Lifetime Achievement Awards. These awards are presented annually to former St. Johns County students who have returned to the area and given their lives in service to their community.

The presentation was made Friday, October 17 prior to the third annual football game between St. Augustine High School (SAHS) and Pedro Menendez High School (PMHS). PMHS was the host team this year.

Sheriff Perry is a 35-year veteran of St. Johns County law enforcement. He was elected Sheriff in 1984 and has been re-elected to four successive four-year terms. Sheriff Perry also has 39 years of service in the Florida Army National Guard and retired with the rank of Colonel in 2001. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College and the FBI’s School of Violence Investigative, Predictive and Preventative Strategies for the 21st Century. In 2001 Governor Jeb Bush appointed him to serve as co-chair of the Northeast Florida Regional Domestic Security Taskforce.

Sheriff Perry is a graduate of SAHS where he played both football and basketball. He has been the recipient of many civilian and military commendations and is active in numerous community service organizations. He is married to his wife Syd and they have three children.

Doris Blackshear is a native of Hastings and graduated from Hastings Vocational Training School, which later became known as Harris High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee University and began her teaching career in Anniston, Alabama as a high school physical education teacher.

The following year Mrs. Blackshear returned to Hastings to teach at Harris High School, which was named for her father who served as the school’s first principal. Her mother also taught school there for more than 40 years. The school later became known as Hastings High School and then as Hastings Elementary/Middle School. This hometown job lasted for 29 years.

But it is as a coach that Doris Blackshear is best known. Mrs. Blackshear’s girls basketball teams dominated the Class A competition during her tenure. They won the district title 22 out of 29 years and the regional title 19 times. Her teams went to state more than any other school in Florida even though they were one of the smallest teams. They were runners-up in the state competition several times and won sectional titles when there was no state competition for girls teams.

Mrs. Blackshear also coached girls volleyball, and her winning teams made appearances at three different state tournaments.

Athletic ability seems to run in the family. Herbert, Doris’s husband of 35 years, played professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also served as a boys basketball coach before taking a position as veterans counselor at Bethune-Cookman College. They have a daughter Kim, who works with students through her job with the State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville, and a four-month-old granddaughter.

The Blackshears also raised and educated two of Mrs. Blackshear’s previous students: Lois Scott, a former Ketterlinus Elementary School teacher who now works for the state, and Yvette Reeves, a senior high school teacher and track coach in St. Petersburg.

Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards are former Superintendent of Schools Otis Mason, Judge Richard Watson, PMHS Principal Bill Mignon and Florida School for the Deaf and Blind teacher-coach Hank White.

Cathy Hutchins, Principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary School (CCES), has been selected by Superintendent Joseph Joyner to open the new elementary school in the northwestern part of the county. Her nomination will be presented to the School Board at their November 6 meeting. The principal vacancy at CCES will be advertised.

Mrs. Hutchins has served as Principal of CCES since July 2001. Prior to assuming that position she helped open CCES as the Assistant Principal in 1995. From 1988-1995 she served as the Model Technology School Facilitator at The Webster School, which was one of five model technology school projects in the state. Mrs. Hutchins also served as a classroom teacher at Webster for two years.

Mrs. Hutchins has over 14 years of experience using various types of educational technology, including networking, network management and telecommunications. She has presented various workshops on the use of technology in the classroom at conferences throughout the state and has coordinated summer programs and teacher technology training workshops within the school district. She has also published various articles on technology in education.

“In addition to her technology skills, Mrs. Hutchins brings with her strong leadership ability and knowledge of the community in the northwestern sector,” said Dr. Joyner. “She is a proven administrator and will continue the tradition of excellence that is part of the district mission.”

CCES is the only school in the county to have received the School Recognition Award for both sustained high performance and improvement and an “A” rating for the past five years. In addition to high student achievement, CCES has been recognized for its active parental and community involvement. During the past five years the school has received the Five Star School designation and the Golden School Award.

Two of the innovative projects developed during Mrs. Hutchins’ tenure are a day care center for children of St. Johns County employees and expansion of the Instructional Delivery Model (IDM) program, in which students have their own laptop computers for use in the classroom and at home. CCES was one of the pilot sites for this technology education program and has since expanded it from second through fifth grade.

“With her strength in technology, grasp of curriculum and understanding of the whole child, Mrs. Hutchins is the perfect leader to utilize all of the flexibility of the design that we have in place for the new elementary school,” said Mrs. Beverly Slough, School Board Member from District 1.

Mrs. Hutchins holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Education from Nazareth College in Rochester, N. Y. She also holds two master’s degrees, one in Visually Impaired and Blind Education from the State University at Geneseo, N. Y. and one in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida.

She is married to Ray Hutchins and they have two children: Christi, an eighth grader at Switzerland Point Middle School, and Ryan, a fourth grader at CCES.

Read more news in our Media Release Archive.


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