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February 2010


    The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) will hold pre-registration for kindergartners and students new to the county and/or the public school system from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, February 17. Parents are encouraged to check the individual school web site for possible extended hours. Parents may also pre-register their children on March 23 and April 22.
To be eligible for public kindergarten, children must be five years old on or before September 1 and must reside in St. Johns County. To register for first grade, children must be six years old on or before September 1 and have successfully completed kindergarten. The child’s certified birth certificate is required at the time of registration. Only the legal name is acceptable on student records.
“Parents must register children at the school where they have been zoned for the 2010-2011 school year,” according to Sallyanne Smith, Director for Student Services. “They should bring one of the following proofs of residency: a mortgage statement, lease or rent agreement. An additional proof of residency is required, preferably an electric bill.”
In addition to the child’s certified birth certificate, Florida law requires any student entering a Florida school for the first time to show proof of certain immunizations and a physical examination. Parents are also encouraged to bring proof of the child’s social security number.
A child’s immunization record should be taken to a private physician or to the St. Johns County Health Department, 1955 U.S.1 South. If all required immunizations have been received, the health department or private physician will issue HRS Form 680, which will permit the child to enter school in Florida. In addition to other required immunizations, children must have received two measles immunizations (preferably MMR), a varicella (chicken pox) vaccine and at least the first Hepatitis B Shot before starting public or private kindergarten.
A physical examination that has been performed within one year prior to enrollment in school will be accepted. Physical examinations can be obtained from either a private physician or from the county health department.
Students can be registered at any time throughout the spring or during the school year. The purpose of the selected days is to help reduce the number of students that need to be enrolled at the beginning of school. Additional information on registration and school attendance zones may be obtained from the Student Services Office at 547-7593 or 547-7598.

RSVP Chocolate Gala   The 17th Annual RSVP Chocolate and Beyond Gala will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 20 at First Coast Technical College located at 2980 Collins Avenue in St. Augustine.  The theme for this year’s event is “A Night in Camelot.”
A sampling of savory delicacies including chocolate, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts will be available from many of the area’s finest restaurants and specialty shops.  A live and silent auction, raffle and door prizes will also be included.
Chocolate and Beyond is hosted by The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of St. Johns County, and all proceeds benefit the program.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Wachovia Bank and Community First Credit Union branches (St. Augustine and select Jacksonville area locations) and Whetstone Chocolates, 13 Anastasia Boulevard. To pay by VISA or MasterCard or for more information, please call 547-3945.
Event sponsors are Emeritus of St. Augustine, Florida Power and Light, Northrop Grumman, the St. Augustine Record, and the St. Johns County School District.

Abbatinozzi Reassignment

    Paul Abbatinozzi, principal of Creekside High School (CHS), has requested a reassignment from his current position for personal reasons. He will be transferred to a vacant administrative position in School Operations effective immediately.
Mr. Abbatinozzi has served as the principal of CHS since it opened in August 2008. He has been employed by the district for the past 20 years.
“Mr. Abbatinozzi did an outstanding job opening Creekside and I am grateful for his leadership,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner.
Randy Johnson, Director of Professional Development, will assume the role of Interim Principal at Creekside. His current duties will continue uninterrupted and will be reassigned through the curriculum department in a method to be determined. The principalship at Creekside will be posted in the spring.   
Mr. Johnson has been employed by the St. Johns County School District since 1982 and has served as a teacher, coach, and school and district administrator.  
“Mr. Johnson has a passion for learning and for leading others,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “His past experience will provide Creekside with a smooth transition and will enable the school to continue moving forward.”

Teacher of the Year Celebration   Diane Ousley, a math teacher at Landrum Middle School (LMS), is St. Johns County’s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner at the Nineteenth Annual Teacher of the Year Celebration held Thursday night at TPC Sawgrass. The event was hosted by the St. Johns County Education Foundation (SJCEF) to recognize excellence in the teaching profession.
Ms. Ousley has been a math teacher at LMS since the school opened in 1991 and is currently serving as the math department chairman. She was also Landrum’s Teacher of the Year in 1995-96.
Prior to the opening of LMS, she taught math at Nease Junior-Senior High School. A product of St. Johns County Schools, Ms. Ousley attended Ponte Vedra-Palm Valley School from fourth until ninth grade. She graduated from Fletcher High School since Nease had not been built yet.
In addition to her teaching duties, Ms. Ousley willingly tutors students needing extra help and serves as a team leader and mentor to other teachers. One of her greatest joys was mentoring one of her former junior high volleyball players as an intern in middle school mathematics.
Ms. Ousley said,” The challenge for me was allowing her to learn from the classroom situations and not stepping in to rescue her or my students. The most rewarding part is that she is still teaching 10 years later.”
LMS Principal Wayne King says, “She represents what we consider to be the best style of educator, one who strives to guide students to become individualized learners and productive independent thinkers. She is a wonderful example of what teaching should be.”
Caroline Snowden, a former student, said Ms. Ousley is the teacher she would most like to go back and visit. She likes her “old-fashioned” teaching approach and the way she personalized lessons to make them memorable. However, she says it is her “extraordinary kindness, compassion and understanding” that make her exceptional.
The other three finalists for the 2009-2010 St. Johns County Teacher of the Year were Wendy Brogdon of Ponte Vedra-Palm Valley/Rawlings Elementary School, MaryCarol Stearns of Ponte Vedra High School  and Chassity Johnson of Sebastian Middle School.
In addition to recognizing the District Teacher of the Year, the SJCEF honored Rookie Teachers of the Year. This was the third year the Foundation recognized exceptional teachers with three or less years of teaching experience.
The 28 candidates, nominated in most cases by their peers, completed a process similar to that used for Teacher of the Year. Each submitted an application packet and participated in an individual interview conducted by a panel of retired educators.
The 2009-2010 St. Johns County Rookie Teacher of the Year is James McCarthy, a social studies teacher at Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS). Mr. McCarthy graduated from Nease High School in 2004 and is in his second year of teaching. According to school administrators, he has already developed the teaching skills that usually come with many years of experience. His principal characterizes him as a “master teacher” for his work ethic, rapport with students and command of his subject matter.
This new teacher sees his role as helping students realize a greater sense of self-worth and serving as a role model for young adults. In his classroom he utilizes technology to make history and geography come alive for his students by incorporating music, images, videos and primary source documents into his lessons.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. McCarthy serves the as the school’s head Swimming and Diving coach. He has also helped promote many clubs and activities at PVHS and is known for his commitment to his students, both in and out of the classroom. He says that until he became a teacher, he never realized the investment teachers have in the lives of their students.
“I share the joy my students feel when they do something remarkable, and I also carry the weight of disappointment and failure of my student’s shortcomings,” he added.
Both the Teacher of the Year and the Rookie Teacher of the Year will be recognized at the March School Board meeting. THE PLAYERS Championship provided every teacher with tickets to the Tournament Players Championship and other benefits. Honoring the Teachers of the Year is part of their tradition of giving back to the community.
Other corporate sponsors included AT&T, The Bailey Group, Community First Credit Union, Contrax Furnishings, Entertainment Publications, Flagler College, Flagler Hospital, Floral Emporium at Proctor Ace, Florida Power and Light, Leonard’s Studio, Northrop Grumman, St. Augustine Record, St. Johns County Tax Collector, Sheriff David Shoar, Vystar Credit Union and Herbie Wiles Insurance.

Science Fair District Winners

William Meadow of Ponte Vedra High School won top honors in the Senior Division of the 2010 River Region East Science Fair held last week at First Coast Technical College. His project was entitled “Exosomes as Vectors: A Comparison of Nonviral Transfection Methods.”
William Paul of Landrum Middle School and Kurt Hennigar of Fruit Cove Middle School tied for best overall in the Junior Division. William’s project was entitled, “Identification of Terrestrial Soil Organisms Suited for Life in a Low Pressure, High Carbon Dioxide Environment: Transforming Mars, Part II,” and Kurt’s project was entitled, “Intelligent Outdoor Lighting System.”
Approximately 110 science projects representing 124 participants were involved in the annual science fair.  The overall winners will be recognized at the March 9 School Board meeting.
Participating middle schools included Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS), Landrum Middle School (LMS), Liberty Pines Academy (LPA), Murray Middle School (MMS), Pacetti Bay Middle School (PBMS), Gamble Rogers Middle School (GRMS), Sebastian Middle School (SMS) and Switzerland Point Middle School (SPMS).
Participating high schools were Bartram Trail High School (BTHS), Creekside High School (CHS), Pedro Menendez High School (PMHS), Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS) and St. Augustine High School (SAHS). Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) also participated.
The category winners are listed below.

Animal, Plant and Environmental Science 1st Place – Isabel Nunez, SAHS 2nd Place – Scott Neiderwemmer, PMHS 3rd Place – Nicole Miller, PMHS Honorable Mention – Gabrielle Allerton, PVHS
Behavioral Sciences 1st Place – Caroline Snowden, PVHS 2nd Place – Annika Goldman, PVHS 3rd Place  – Ashley Lane, SAHS Honorable Mention – Daniel Winer, PVHS          Engineering 1st Place – Lucinda Ford, PMHS 2nd Place – Augustine Savoca, SAHS 3rd Place – Matt Mele, SAHS Honorable Mention – P. J. Baran, SAHS
Math and Physics 1st Place – Sierra Melton, SAHS 2nd Place – Andrew Li, SAHS 3rd Place  – Maya Goldman, PVHS Honorable Mention – Jared Holiday, PMHS
Microbiology and Chemistry 1st Place – William Meadow, PVHS 2nd Place – Alexandra Towne, SAHS 3rd Place  – Ariana Sabet, PVHS Honorable Mention – Nathaniel Litvintchouk, PMHS
Team Projects 1st Place – Phoebe Fleming and Anastasia Van Dyke, SAHS 2nd Place – Olivia Crews, Elizabeth Graham and Vihasa Govada, BTHS

Honorable Mention – Derek Fleming and Dylan Kaempfer, SAHSMontana Reinschmidt and Cameron Veal, BTHS

Behavioral Sciences 1st Place – Sarah Davis, SMS 2nd Place – Elizabeth Colvin, GRMS 3rd Place – Syed Aamir Hasan, LMS

Honorable Mention (tie) – Natalie Wanjek, GRMSBailey Davis, FSDB

Engineering 1st Place – Kurt Hennigar, FCMS 2nd Place – Carrick Wigal, GRMS 3rd Place – Max Kline, SMS Honorable Mention – Daniel Mancini, PBMS
Environmental and Earth Science 1st Place – William Paul, LMS 2nd Place – Ethan McLeod, SMS

3rd Place (tie) – Kasanda Holms, FCMSPerry Nowak, SMS

Honorable Mention – Daniel McDonald, GRMS
Math and Physics 1st Place – Abby Miller, LMS 2nd Place – Gabriela Castello, LMS 3rd Place – Brian Martin, LPA Honorable Mention – Megan Hinkle, LMS
Medicine and Chemistry 1st Place – Leila Sabet, LMS 2nd Place- Diana Oum, PBMS 3rd Place – Haley Chenowith, GRMS

Honorable Mention (tie) – Madeline Leibin, PBMSLauren Wisniewski, FCMS

Plant and Animal Science 1st Place – Kyndall Harper, SMS 2nd Place- Alexis Marcionette, LMS 3rd Place – Megan Calvin, LMS

Honorable Mention (tie) – Jason Leonard, FCMSHannah Shaffer, LPA

Team Projects 1st Place – Zach Anastasiadas and Brett Greene, LMS 2nd Place – Lexi Schur and Olivia Beech, LMS 3rd Place – Patrick McGuire and Miles Ward, GRMS

Honorable Mention (tie) – Kelsy Lange and Melissa Nicandri, LMSMarrisa Rice and Lindley Simpson, LMS

  Twenty-one projects were selected to go on to compete at the State Science Fair scheduled April 7-9 in Orlando. More than 60 percent of St. Johns County student projects competing at the state level last year received awards.  Science Fair Program Specialist Mark Lewis will be coordinating the trip.
The participants are listed below:

Fruit Cove Middle School – Kurt Hennigar

Landrum Middle School – Zach Anastasiadis, Brett Greene, Alexis Marcionette, Abby Miller, William Paul and Leila Sabet

Pedro Menendez High School – Lucy Ford and Nicole Miller

Pacetti Bay Middle School – Diana Oum

Ponte Vedra High School – Annika Goldman, William Meadow and Caroline Snowden

Gamble Rogers Middle School – Carrick Wigal

St. Augustine High School – Phoebe Fleming, Andrew Li, Matthew Mele, Sierra Melton, Augustine Savoca and Anastasia Van Dyke

Sebastian Middle School – Sarah Davis, Kyndall Harper and Ethan McLeod
William Meadow was also selected to represent St. Johns County at the International Science and Engineering Fair scheduled May 9-14 in San Jose, California.
Science fair is an academic competition designed to challenge students to rigorously apply science process skills and content knowledge in order to investigate scientific questions of their own choosing. Participants also experience the importance of practicing science ethics and responsibility on a personal level.

Teachers of the Year

The 2009-2010 Teachers of the Year have been selected from each of the district’s 34 schools.
These nominees represent the very best among St. Johns County School District teachers. Their colleagues have selected them for this prestigious honor, and they will go on to compete for the countywide title.
The overall winner will be announced at the annual Teacher of the Year Celebration event on February 11 at TPC Sawgrass.
The awards banquet is being sponsored by the St. Johns County Education Foundation (SJCEF) to recognize excellence in the teaching profession. Proceeds from the banquet will be used to fund teacher mini-grants for creative and innovative classroom projects.
Additional information may be obtained from Donna Lueders, Foundation and Grants Coordinator, at 547-7560.
A list of the 2009-2010 Teachers of the Year is below.

2009-2010 Teachers of the Year

Alternative Programs Ms. Laura Barkett
Bartram Trail High Ms. Lori Gallaher
Creekside High Ms. Beverly Burke
Crookshank Elementary Ms. Diane Lloyd
Cunningham Creek Elementary Ms. Helen Hubner
Durbin Creek Elementary Ms. Donna Morrison
First Coast Technical College Mr. John Burr, Sr.
Fruit Cove Middle Mr. Jeff Staffaroni
Hartley Elementary Mr. Brian Morgan
Hickory Creek Elementary Ms. Nancy Vara
R. B. Hunt Elementary Ms. Allison Basili
Julington Creek Elementary Ms. Ingrid Griffin
Ketterlinus Elementary Mr. Michael Sharman
Landrum Middle Ms. Diane Ousley*
Liberty Pines Academy Ms. Melanie Tahan
Mason Elementary Ms. Debra Marhanka
Pedro Menendez High Mr. Gary Hoog
Mill Creek Elementary Ms. Paula Tipton
Murray Middle Ms. Lisa Catuto
Nease High Ms. Melissa Vecchiola
Ocean Palms Elementary Ms. Jamie Morgan
Osceola Elementary Ms. Alverta Anderson
Pacetti Bay Middle Ms. Linda Markum
Ponte Vedra High Ms. MaryCarol Stearns*
PV-PV/Rawlings Elementary Ms. Wendy Brogdon*
Rogers Middle Ms. Renee Downey
St. Augustine High Ms. Mary Mars
St. Johns Technical High Ms. Beth McCoy
Sebastian Middle Ms. Chassity Johnson*
South Woods Elementary Ms. Lucy Oberholtzer
Switzerland Point Middle Ms. Sue Black
Timberlin Creek Elementary Ms. Kim Ludke
Wards Creek Elementary Ms. Ruth Jarriel
The Webster School Mr. Eddie Price


   Rookie Teachers of the Year

Nominations for the 2009-2010 Rookie Teacher of the Year have been submitted by 27 of the district’s schools. Eligible teachers must have taught less than three years.

This is the third year that the Rookie Teacher of the Year competition has been held. These nominees represent the best of their profession among new teachers, and they will go on to compete for the countywide title.

The overall winner will be announced at the annual Teacher of the Year Celebration event on February 11 at TPC Sawgrass.

The awards banquet is being sponsored by the St. Johns County Education Foundation (SJCEF) to recognize excellence in the teaching profession. Proceeds from the banquet will be used to fund teacher mini-grants for creative and innovative classroom projects.

Additional information is available from Donna Lueders, Foundation and Grants Coordinator, at 547-7560.

A list of the 2009-2010 Rookie Teachers of the Year follows.

2009-2010 Rookie Teachers of the Year

Bartram Trail High Mr. Iben Phillips
Creekside High Ms. Shannon Dew
Crookshank Elementary Ms. Jennifer Locke
Cunningham Creek Elementary Ms. Stephanie Davenport
First Coast Technical College Ms. Laura Brown
Fruit Cove Middle Ms. Raina Greening
Hartley Elementary Ms. Y. Denise Apel
Hickory Creek Elementary Ms. Jenny Densmore
R. B. Hunt Elementary Ms. Bonnie Proctor
Julington Creek Elementary Ms. Mary Sturney
Landrum Middle Ms. Carrie St. Clair
Liberty Pines Academy Ms. Holly Southworth
Pedro Menendez High Mr. James Crutchfield
Mill Creek Elementary Ms. Paige Neal
Murray Middle Ms. Brenda Felder
Nease High Ms. Abbey Sterling
Osceola Elementary Ms. Leslie Keller
Pacetti Bay Middle Ms. Ashley DeMaio
Ponte Vedra High Mr. James McCarthy
PV-PV/Rawlings Elementary Ms. Kendall Higgins
Rogers Middle Mr. Paul Maass
Sebastian Middle Ms. Heather Naughton
St. Johns Technical High Mr. Keith Henry
South Woods Elementary Ms. Amber Veniard
Switzerland Point Middle Ms. Danielle Carney
Timberlin Creek Elementary Ms. Amy Kammerer
Wards Creek Elementary Ms. Heather Keisler