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March 2011

2010-2011 School-Related Employee of the Year

Kathleen Damiano, Food Service Manager at Timberlin Creek Elementary School (TCES), has been named St. Johns County’s 2010-2011 School-Related Employee of the Year. Her selection was announced by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner at a reception held Tuesday evening at First Coast Technical College.
Ms. Damiano was selected from among 37 nominees for her exemplary job performance, dedication, interpersonal skills, leadership ability, training to upgrade skills and contributions to the school and district environment.
Ms. Damiano has been involved in food service and catering for 25 years. As the Food Service Manager at TCES for the past 10 years, she has been a pioneer in presenting attractive and appealing school breakfasts and lunches. She has also created and maintained one of the highest performing and highest profit-making school food programs in the district and takes pride in both her staff and her cafeteria.
In addition to her everyday responsibilities, Ms. Damiano educates students and their parents about the importance of healthy eating through the use of games about food and nutrition. This year she started a school garden by planting seeds and involved students in the process.  She also volunteers beyond her work day by helping promote PTO family events and making the cafeteria available as needed.
According to Principal Cathy Hutchins, this year’s winner has “an endless spirit of giving” and is respected and admired by her staff, co-workers and the community. She helps train other staff members and looks for opportunities to share her knowledge and expertise. She is a leader and a true professional but is always willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done.
The Nominating Committee said it best, “Our nominee is a dedicated hard worker with a strong work ethic who has a passion for instilling healthy eating habits for the well being of others. She provides a positive eating experience in our school cafeteria and works with local farmers to incorporate fresh produce in our school’s lunch program.  Ms. Damiano is a true professional who always serves others.”
Ms. Damianos’s name has been forwarded to the state where she will compete at the regional level.

Graduation Schedule

Approximately 2,000 St. Johns County seniors are expected to graduate June 2, 3 and 4. The graduation schedule is as follows:

Thursday, June 2

St. Johns Technical High School – 7 p.m. at St. Augustine High School

Friday, June 3

St. Augustine High School – 7 p.m. at St. Augustine Amphitheatre (SAA)
Saturday, June 4

Bartram Trail High School – 10 a.m. at the University of North Florida (UNF)

Pedro Menendez High School – 10 a.m. at SAA

Ponte Vedra High School – 1:30 p.m. at UNF

Creekside High School – 4:30 p.m. at UNF                                         Nease High School – 7 p.m. at UNF         

Sunny Award

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) has received a Sunny Award nomination again this year, an award given to the most transparent government websites in the country by the editors of Sunshine Review. The SJCSD website received an A+ for scoring ten out of ten on the group’s transparency checklist.
The SJCSD is one of 112 government websites out of 6,000 in the nation with a perfect 10 rating. It is also one of only six school districts in Florida to be selected and the only one to be nominated for the past two years.
The Sunshine Review promotes transparency and affirmative disclosure at the state and local levels. A “10 Point Transparency Checklist” was used to analyze 50 state websites and more than 6,000 local government web sites.
School district websites across the country were measured against the checklist that evaluates the online accessibility of financial management information. The survey included taxes, budget, meetings, elected officials, administrative officials, contracts, audits, public records, academics and background checks.
The SJCSD has a Financial Transparency website, which includes property tax information, auditor general reports, school district budget, school internal accounts audits, budget amendments, bids/RFPs/quotes, monthly bills, monthly financial statements and a debt service payment schedule. The website includes data for the past three years.
“We are grateful for this recognition again and I am extremely proud of CFO Conley Weiss and his team for their efforts in providing this information to the public,” said Superintendent Joseph Joyner. “It’s important for taxpayers to know that the school district is being a good steward of its resources and that they can trust the School Board to make good decisions.  We are again facing difficult financial times, and it will be more important than ever to provide maximum value to our children with the diminishing dollars we receive.”
The Sunny Award winners are being notified prior to Sunshine Week being observed March 13-19.  

Secretarial Leadership Conference

The St. Johns County School District and the Northeast Florida School Boards Coalition held its first-ever Secretarial Leadership Conference February 24-25 at the Holiday Inn & Suites in St. Augustine. Over 100 participants from 22 counties across the state attended the two-day event.  
Conference highlights included sessions on practical grammar, civility, public records, fraud and trust and proper business attire. The keynote address on servant leadership was delivered by Dr. Joseph Joyner, St. Johns County Superintendent of Schools.
Break-out sessions gave the opportunity for secretaries from various counties to share knowledge and best practices specific to their job duties.
The event also included a train tour on Ripley’s Sightseeing Trains to showcase St. Augustine, as well as a tour of the Castillo de San Marcos, for the out-of-county visitors.
“I am so pleased with the success of our first state-wide conference.  I believe this type of training and networking for those of us who support administrators in education is essential to the success of the school districts in Florida,” said Vicki Moody, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, who hopes the conference will turn into an annual event.
“Highly trained professionals who have a complete understanding of their roles are better able to make a positive difference in the lives of the students and families they serve,” she added.
The event was coordinated by Mrs. Moody and Gina Fallica, Executive Secretary to the School Board. The conference registration filled up quickly and many who wanted to participate had to be turned away due to space limitations.
Sponsors for the event included Dress Barn, McGladrey, Office Depot, Season’s Catering of Jacksonville, Gate, Zebra, Bayside Embroidery, 1st Place Fundraising, Chick-fil-A, Konica Minolta, Staples and Olde Towne Title and Guaranty.

School-Related Employees of the Year

The 2010-2011 School-Related Employees of the Year have been selected from each of the district’s 34 schools, along with three district representatives. School-Related employees enhance the education experience for the children whose lives they touch, and they are essential to the successful operation of a school or school district office.
These nominees have been selected for the significant contributions they have made to their schools and to the entire school district. Criteria for the award are 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.
A district-wide screening committee has reviewed all of the nominations and has selected the St. Johns County School-Related Employee of the Year. The winner will be announced at a special reception scheduled March 22 at First Coast Technical College. The St. Johns County nominee will receive a cash award and go on to compete at the regional level.
A list of the 2010-2011 School-Related Employees of the Year is below.



New Executive Director of Human Resources

Brennan W. Asplen, Principal of Bartram Trail High School (BTHS), has been selected by Superintendent Joseph Joyner to be the new Executive Director of Human Resources. His nomination will be presented to the School Board, and he will assume his new position on July 1.
Mr. Asplen will succeed Jim Springfield, who is retiring June 30 after 22 years in the district.
Mr. Asplen has 23 years of experience in education and has served as a teacher, coach and administrator. He has been Principal at BTHS for the past five years.
“I have watched Brennan over the past six years and have tremendous respect for his leadership and integrity,” said the Superintendent.  “He is a perfect match for this critical role in Human Resources, and I look forward to his joining the district office team.”
“Jim Springfield has been an incredible leader and will be sorely missed,” Dr. Joyner added. “However, I am confident that Brennan will continue to make an excellent department even better.”
During his tenure at BTHS, the school maintained a grade of “A” and also won six state championships in sports. They are one of only three high schools to earn the Five Star Award for community involvement since 2008. They have also continuously won the Golden School award for their parent volunteer program and the Silver School award for student volunteerism.
Mr. Asplen is grateful for the experience he has had leading BTHS, working with students and dedicated parent volunteers and business partners, all part of the “Bear family.” “The results of our students’ work has been outstanding, exceeding expectations inside and outside of the classroom,” he said. “In addition to promoting gains in testing scores and increased participation in college level coursework, it has been an honor watching our students as servant leaders fulfilling needs in the community.”
Mr. Asplen holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. He is currently serving as President of the Florida Association of Secondary School Principals.