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.