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May 2013

New Principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary School Named

Randall Jud Strickland, chief of Elementary Schools for Duval County Public Schools, has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the Principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary. His nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at its June 11 meeting.

Strickland will replace Allen Anderson, who was selected the new principal of Palencia Elementary earlier this month.

“Jud’s experience and leadership ability align perfectly with our district,” said Joyner. “We are very fortunate to have him join us and I know that he will be a great addition to our team.”

Strickland has more than 20 years of experience within the Duval County Public School System with 10 years spent as a principal where he was responsible for opening Bartram Springs Elementary School. He also held the position of executive director for elementary turnaround schools and most recently served as the chief of elementary schools where he was responsible for leading and managing 53 elementary and two K-8 schools with more than 30,000 students. Strickland has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership both from the University of North Florida.

“I am overwhelmed with excitement about joining the Cunningham Creek Elementary School family,” said Strickland. “The school has a rich history of success and I look forward to being a part of a faculty and staff that put children first.”

FCAT Writes and Third Grade FCAT Reading and Math

The St. Johns County School District received scores from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) today for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Writes assessment and for third-grade FCAT Reading and Math. On the three grades tested (fourth, eighth and 10th) in FCAT Writes, students continue to score above the state average on the writing assessments at all three grade levels. The same is true for third-grade FCAT Reading and Math.

On FCAT Writes, out of 67 districts in Florida, fourth-grade students were tied for second, eighth-grade students were tied for 12th and 10th-grade students were tied for 10th. Fourth graders were at 67 percent proficient and the state at 57 percent. Eighth graders were at 61 percent proficient with the state at 54 percent, and 10th graders were at 66 percent proficient with the state at 62 percent.

FCAT Writes is part of a statewide educational accountability program designed to measure students’ proficiency in writing in grades four, eight and 10. Students are required to write a response to a prompt on an assigned topic within a one-hour time period. This year, writing prompts were narrative for fourth graders, persuasive for eighth graders and expository for 10th graders. Essays were graded on quality of detail as well as usage including grammar, punctuation and spelling. Each essay was scored by two readers.

“I am very proud of the hard work and emphasis on writing by our students, teachers, school administration, parents and district staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner.

St. Johns County ranked first in the state in third-grade FCAT Reading for the second consecutive year. In FCAT Reading, 76 percent of third graders were proficient compared to 57 percent for the state. FCAT Reading is part of a statewide educational accountability program designed to measure students’ proficiency in reading in grades three through 10.

St. Johns County tied for third in the state in third-grade FCAT Math. In FCAT Math, 71 percent of third graders were proficient compared to 58 percent for the state. Part of a statewide educational accountability program, FCAT Math is designed to measure students’ proficiency in math in grades three through 10.

“I am very pleased with the results on this year’s reading and math assessments thus far,” said added Joyner. “While these scores are reflective of only one grade level, I am encouraged by this trend and commend the efforts of our teachers and students.”

Scores for fourth through 10th grades in reading, math and science (fifth and eighth grades only) have not been issued by FLDOE yet. Additional information can be found at

Nurse of the Year

Kristi Dvorak, a school nurse within the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD), has been chosen by the Florida School Health Association (FSHA) as the 2013 School Nurse of the Year. The announcement was made at the FSHA Awards Luncheon held at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando on May 9.

Dvorak has worked in the nursing field for over 10 years and has been with the SJCSD for six years. Over the last two years, her role as a school nurse has been unique as she travels to work at different schools on a daily basis. She has been responsible for implementing plans of care throughout the SJCSD that have ensured safety in the school setting for students with chronic medical conditions and is seen as a leader in responsible organization and skill mastery by her colleagues.

“Kristi has been a part of the Health Services Department since its beginning and her leadership skills have been invaluable to the program’s success,” said Melissa Petty, BSN, RN, Health Services coordinator. “She places organizational interest ahead of personal convenience and works tirelessly to enrich the lives of students both academically and socially. Kristi exemplifies professionalism and commitment to the nursing profession.”

Dvorak will be recognized for her accomplishment at the School Board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 11. For more information on FSHA, visit

2013-2014 Bus Routes

The St. Johns County School District’s (SJCSD) bus routes for the 2013-2014 school year were approved by the School Board at its meeting on May 14. The routes are available online at Parents without access to computers may visit any of the county public library locations, and staff will assist them in locating the website.

“By providing this information prior to the end of school, parents and caregivers are better able to plan and prepare,” said SJCSD Director of Transportation Joe Purvis.

In early August, postcards will be sent home to the parents of all potential bus riders giving them the bus stop, times and bus number for their students.

The Transportation Department will operate 166 bus routes and be transporting approximately 19,350 children twice a day when school starts on Monday, August 19. For additional questions or information, call the Transportation Department at 547-7810.

Summer Food Service Program

The St. Johns County School District will be participating in the Summer Food Service Program for Children June 10-August 7 as outlined below. There will be a break in service July 1-5 as the school district will be closed during this time.

Nutritionally balanced meals will be provided to all children regardless of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin during summer vacation when school breakfasts and lunches are not available. All children 18 years old and younger are eligible for meals on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. The programs are only approved for geographical areas of need where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year.

Summer feeding sites that are located at schools provide meals to all children in the immediate vicinity in addition to those enrolled in summer school.

Production sites will be St. Augustine High School and Pedro Menendez High School. Pre-packaged meals will be transported to sites and will be refrigerated at each site until served. Site personnel will ensure all food items remain at acceptable temperatures before serving to children.

The sites listed below will be in operation as follows:

Site Service Days Beg/End Dates Breakfast Service Times Lunch ServiceTimes Break in Service
St. Augustine High
3205 Varella Ave.
St Aug., 32084
Monday-Thursday June 17-August 6 7:45-9 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 1-5, Fridays
Pedro Menendez High
600 S. R. 206 West
St Aug., 32086
Monday– Thursday June 17-August 6 7:45-8:30 a.m. 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 1-5, Fridays
St. Paul AME
85 M.L. King Ave.
St Aug., 32084
Monday -Friday June 17 – August 7 8-8:45 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 1-5
Restoration Times
Deliverance Center
34 S. Leonardi St.
St Aug., 32084
Monday – Friday June 17 – August 2 8:30-9 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. July 4
Armstrong Outreach Center
6408 Armstrong
Elkton, 32033
Monday – Friday June 17 – August 2 N/A 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 4
The Players Championship Boys & Girls Club
555 W. King St.
St. Aug., 32084
Monday – Friday June 24 – July 26 9-10 a.m. 12:30-1:30 p.m. July 4
ESHC Family Program
62 Chapin St.
St Aug., 32084
Monday – Friday June 10 – August 6 N/A 12-12:30 p.m. NONE, Open July 4
Harris Comm. Center
400 East Harris St.
Hastings, 32145
Monday – Friday June 17 – August 2 8-9 a.m. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. July 4
Solomon Calhoun Ctr.
1400 Duval St.
St. Aug., 32084
Monday-Friday June 17 – August 2 7:30-8:30 a.m. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. July 4
Hastings Teen Center
6150 Main St
Hastings, 32145
Monday – Friday June 17 – August 2 7:30-8:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. July 4
St Johns Technical High School
2980 Collins Ave.
St Aug., 32084
Monday-Thursday June 10-August 1 8-8:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. July 1-5, Fridays


“In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.”

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Fundraising Vendor Fair

The inaugural St. Johns County (SJC) Fundraising Vendor Fair will be held on Wednesday, May 22 at the St. Augustine Outlet’s Community Room, located at 500 Prime Outlets Blvd., St. Augustine, FL 32084 (north end of the complex) from 9-11 a.m.

From coupons to cookie dough, the Fundraising Vendor Fair will showcase the many opportunities available to schools in a convenient setting. In addition, fundraising vendors will be available with their displays for questions and more information.

The SJC Fundraising Vendor Fair is produced by the St. Johns County Education Foundation and the St. Johns County School District’s Community Relations Department. The fair is free and open to the public.

For more information or to become a vendor, contact Kelly Barrera at 547-7560 or [email protected].

Allen Anderson Appointed as New Principal of Palencia Elementary School

Allen Anderson, principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary School, has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the Principal of Palencia Elementary School. His nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at their June 11 meeting.

Anderson will replace Principal Don Campbell, who has announced his retirement following this school year. Campbell will stay on as a principal on assignment until September 15 to assist with district level projects.

“Allen is a perfect match for the skills and attributes identified by the school community,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “He is a strong supporter of technology in the classroom which will further Palencia Elementary’s integration of digital instruction. I know that he will do an outstanding job.”

Anderson has more than 17 years of experience in the St. Johns County School District and has served as the principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary since 2010. Prior to this appointment he was an assistant principal at Mill Creek Elementary and Durbin Creek Elementary schools, a curriculum coordinator at Switzerland Point Middle School and a teacher at Cunningham Creek Elementary School.

“While I am grateful for my time and experiences at Cunningham Creek, I am honored to have been chosen as the new principal of Palencia Elementary School,” said Allen Anderson. “I have had the pleasure of visiting Palencia Elementary and am in awe of the students, staff and community. I am excited about this new opportunity and look forward to developing new relationships as a Palencia Pirate.”

A job posting for the principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary will be posted soon on the district’s website at

Elementary STEM Fair

The inaugural St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Elementary Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fair will be held at Palencia Elementary School (PES) on Saturday, May 18 from 1-5 p.m. Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students from St. Johns County elementary schools will display projects demonstrating the practices of science. Presentations by National Geographic, Northrop Grumman and the St. Johns County Environmental Division will also take place. The theme for third-grade projects is “Observation Odyssey.” Students worked in teams and were tasked with making observations in nature, keeping a journal and building a model that represented their findings.

“Invention of the Imagination” is the theme for fourth-grade projects. Students also worked in teams to design and build an invention, and then wrote a set of instructions that someone else could follow to build their invention.

The theme for fifth-grade projects is “Let’s Experiment.” Fifth graders presenting at the fair worked in teams or as individuals to design and perform experiments following the scientific method for experimentation.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Barrington Irving will make presentations at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the PES cafeteria. The presentations are free, but seating is limited. Irving was raised in Miami’s inner city; surrounded by crime, poverty, and failing schools. He beat the odds to become the youngest person and only African American to fly solo around the world. His goal is to inspire children to achieve through determination, hard work and a passion for what they want to achieve.

Northrop Grumman will host interactive displays for students focusing on robotics and lasers. Interactive science displays by the St. Johns County Environmental Division will feature watershed projects and environmental concerns.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mark Lewis, SJCSD Elementary Science/K-12 P.E. and Health Program specialist at [email protected] or (904) 547-7529.

American Youth Character Awards

More than 90 students were recognized for their exemplary character at the 13th annual American Youth Character Awards (AYCA) Banquet held on Thursday, May 2 at the World Golf Village Convention Center.

Honorees included 85 students from St. Johns County high schools who were identified as students of character. Thirty-one seniors were recognized, along with 54 juniors from Bartram Trail, Creekside, Pedro Menendez, Nease, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine and St. Johns Technical high schools as well as the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, St. Joseph Academy, Beacon of Hope Christian School and St Johns Virtual School.

Students also invited their parents and a mentor who has served as a character role model for them.

Criteria for the AYCA awards are based on the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. These awards recognize students for serving as good role models for their generation. Nominees were evaluated on the basis of the influence of the Six Pillars in their lives, especially as they relate to overcoming obstacles, making difficult choices, generosity and self-sacrifice, and community service. All honorees received certificates, pins and school letters. In addition, each senior received a $400 award in recognition of their exemplary character.

Eight other seniors were honored as Pursuing Victory with Honor nominees for displaying the Six Pillars of Character on the athletic field. The overall winner received a $1,000 check and the other school finalists each received $400.

The senior award recipients were Amber Babcock, Valerie Larson, Corey McDonald and Tyler Powell of Bartram Trail High School; Frank Cirillo, Dawit Rumicha, Jake Rouse and Salome Tamayo of Creekside High School; Nicholaus Fiore and Charles Elliott of Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind; Danielle Forgie, Danielle Marhanka, Spencer Willis and Chris Wilson of Pedro Menendez High School; Daniel Brookman, Michelle Emamdie, Andrew Holness and Natalie Magana of Nease High School; Andrew Blocker, Max Ervanian, Hana Kusumoto and Lexi Zawacki of Ponte Vedra High School; Cory Morabito, David Martinez, Whitney Hodapp and Nick Stultz of St. Augustine High School; Daniel Romero of St. Johns Technical High School; Joseph Brown of St. Joseph Academy; Shannon Rogers of St. Johns Virtual School; and Christy Clements and Kacy Douglas of Beacon of Hope Christian School.

The junior nominees were as follows:

Bartram Trail High School – Hanna George, Maggie Borngesser, Caleb Grantham, Jacob Allen, Danielle Miller, Emma Magee, Courtney Krueger and Lily Peterson

Creekside High School – Andres Camacho, Carol Anne Connolly, Chris Lendon, Hank Mengel, Lindsay Pustay, Morgan Richburg, Sarah Schreck and Jesscia Van Cleave

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind – Nicolas Bemis and Veda Casorla

Pedro Menendez High School – Nick Argitis, Trevon Bryant, Andrew Cole, Amber Deitrick, Willie Harvey, Jolene Helmly, Rebecca King and Allison Parks

Nease High School – Jared Bassett, Diksha Brahmbhatt, William Duncan, Brooke Ference, Jared Heinrich, Madison Stenzel, Danai Stone and Nicole Thatcher

Ponte Vedra High School Lauren Brychell, Monica Connelly, Mimi Haley, Ben Ohno, Justin Sandler, Lexi Schur, Michael Vazquez and William Reed Waldenmaier

St. Augustine High School – Courtney Rumbel, Rachel Hackney, Regan Kennen, Asia Hayes, Wilecia Rickerson, Ivan Barber, Michael Ettel and Colton Andre

St. Johns Technical High School – Erick Cedeno

St. Joseph Academy – Samantha Kelemen and John Supina

St. Johns Virtual School Jordan Schrader

Eight years ago the law firm of Upchurch, Bailey and Upchurch, P.A. established the David Macaulay Mathis Memorial Victory with Honor Award to recognize a varsity athlete who exhibits the Six Pillars of Character. David Mathis was a 1999 International Baccalaureate graduate of Nease High School who was active in the Naval JROTC program and was a member of the varsity basketball team.

This year’s Pursuing Victory with Honor Award winner was Sierra Riter of St. Augustine High School. The other school finalists were Hannah Gupton of Creekside High School, Matt Burkholder of Pedro Menendez High School, Corey Koski of Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Nick Uruburu of Bartram Trail High School, Matthew Deegan of Ponte Vedra High School, Mary Sieredzinski of Nease High School and Kyle Vrban of St. Joseph Academy. As co-sponsors of the Pursuing Victory with Honor Awards, Jacksonville Jaguars Senior Vice President of Sales Chad Johnson and Jaguars Player Jeris Pendelton assisted with the presentation of finalists and the winner.

The Tucker McCarty Character Counts! Scholarship has been established by Delaine and Obie McCarty to memorialize their son, Tucker, a graduate of Pedro Menendez High School and a student at the University of Florida. This scholarship is awarded to a student, like Tucker, who exudes good character in an effort to make the world a better place. Max Ervanian of Ponte Vedra High School was awarded this year’s Tucker McCarty CHARACTER COUNTS! Scholarship.

This year’s event was presented by CHARACTER COUNTS! of St. Johns County with support from the following partners and co-partners: The Bailey Group; Northrop Grumman; Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation; Flagler Hospital; Prosperity Bank; and Upchurch, Bailey and Upchurch P.A.; Rhodes Graduation Services-Jostens; Allen Family Businesses (The Feed Store and Water Works); Bozard Ford Lincoln; Cady Studios; Chick-fil-A; and United Way of St. Johns County. Many other businesses, civic organizations and individuals also contributed to this event.

K-8 Schools HH and II Groundbreaking Ceremonies

On Monday, May 20, the St. Johns County School District will hold groundbreaking ceremonies for two schools located in northern St. Johns County. The public is invited to attend.

The day’s events will begin at 9 a.m. for K-8 School HH, located at 475 Longleaf Pine Parkway, St. Johns, FL 32259 (in the Durbin Crossing subdivision). This will be followed at 10:30 a.m. by the groundbreaking ceremony for K-8 School II, located at 105 Greenleaf Drive, Ponte Vedra, FL 32081 (in the Nocatee subdivision). Student performances from Allen D. Nease and Creekside high schools will be featured during the ceremonies.

In the event of rain, a single ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 20 in the Creekside High School Auditorium located at 100 Knights Lane in St. Johns. This ceremony will encompass both K-8 HH and II schools.

The construction of K-8 School HH and K-8 School II are part of the school district’s Five-Year Building Plan. Both schools are scheduled to open in August 2014.

For both schools, Tercilla Courtemanche Architects developed the prototype design and Elkins Constructors, Inc. is the contractor.

Additional information may be obtained from Nicole Cubbedge, director, Facilities Planning and Growth Management, at 547-7680. Visit for the most accurate directions to the groundbreaking ceremonies.