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September 2013

Learning Legacy Lifetime Achievement Awards

Carol Donaldson Holtz and former-Mayor Len Weeks have been selected as the recipients of the 2013 Learning Legacy Lifetime Achievement Awards.

These awards are presented annually to former St. Johns County public school students who have returned to the area and dedicated their time and talents to serving their community. A presentation will be made to Holtz and Weeks by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner on Friday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. before the football game between St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra high schools.

Holtz graduated valedictorian from Walter E. Harris High School in Hastings in 1965, where she ran track, was the captain and a leading defender of the basketball team, and section leader of the chorus and band. She attended Bethune-Cookman College where she graduated cum laude, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1969. She served as the supervisor for the Career Navigators youth program for First Coast Technical College and then joined the St. Johns County School District as the director of the Risk Management Department for more than eight years before retiring in 2012.

A very active member of Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church in Hastings, Holtz is a Deaconess, assistant superintendent of the Church School and the director of choirs. She is a co-founder and president of the Hastings Democratic Club.

Holtz has over 40 years of public sector employment which is indicative of her desire to serve. Throughout her career, she has inspired others to strive to be their best. One of her constant objectives is to instill in our youth that “life is all about choices, always consider the consequences.” She and her husband, Tommy, are parents of Victor Holtz and Pamela Hackney and grandparents of Mckenna Willis, a sophomore at Pedro Menendez High School (PMHS); Sophia Willis, a third grader at Otis Mason Elementary; Patrice Williams and Colby Williams Jr. who both attend Palatka High School as a junior and freshman, respectively.

Weeks graduated from St. Augustine High School (SAHS) in 1971, where he was a member of Key Club, the tennis team and the swim team. Upon receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida’s College of Architecture, School of Building Construction in 1977; he returned to St. Augustine where he started, and still operates, Len Weeks Construction, Design, Development, a general contracting firm, specializing in historic preservation.

Weeks served on the St. Augustine City Commission from December 1994 through December 2000, and as Mayor from December 1995 until December 2000. During this time, he was very involved with Sister City projects in Aviles and Menorca, Spain. He is currently serving as the Ambassador to Spain for the City of St. Augustine.

Still very active in the community, Weeks serves in the following organizations: First United Methodist Church; St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce; current president of the Historic Area Council; president of the St. Augustine Sister Cities Association; a founding board member of the St. Augustine / Baracoa (Cuba) Friendship Association and chair of its Historic Preservation Committee, a member of Focus 450 which is working on Legacy Projects for the 450 Anniversary of St. Augustine; a member of Flagler College’s President’s Council, a member of the Flagler Hospital Foundation Board, and current chairman of the Historic Architectural Review Board.

Weeks and his wife, Kristy, own and operate two Panache Salons, and numerous commercial and residential rental properties. They have three children – Austin, Claudia and Schaffer. Austin and Claudia are both graduates from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville. Austin graduated from Flagler College in 1999, and Claudia is a sophomore at the University of Florida. Schaffer attends SAHS and is the current senior class president. His father, Claude Weeks, was the former Administer of Flagler Hospital and his mother, JuAnne Weeks, was a St. Johns County elementary school teacher.

Past recipients of the Learning Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award are former Superintendent of Schools Otis Mason, the late Judge Richard Watson, former Pedro Menendez High School (PMHS) Principal and School Board member Bill Mignon, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind teacher-coach Hank White, the late Sheriff Neil Perry, former basketball coach Doris Blackshear, former Representative Doug Wiles, former PMHS football coach Dwaine Fisher, School Board Member Tommy Allen, St. Johns Technical High School Assistant Principal Cynthia Williams, Deputy Superintendent for Academic Services Martha Mickler, CPA Brad Davis, former SAHS Principal Tyrone Ramsey, former Chamber of Commerce President Robin Burchfield, retired Barnett Bank President Bill Young, former St. Johns County Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Nancy Birchall, Nease High School Dean of Students Kelvin “Bernie” Blue, SAHS Yellow Jackets broadcaster Barry Kass, author and board of trustees member for the St. Augustine Historical Society Beth Rogero Bowen, former Alternative Schools Teacher of the Year Rocky Merrill, retired banking executive John W. Daniels, Terrell Hogan attorney Wayne Hogan, Judge Clyde Wolfe and retired SAHS teacher Hattie Jenkins.

All recipients’ names are inscribed on a perpetual plaque that hangs outside the Superintendent’s Office.

Negotiated Agreement State Allocation

Negotiators for the St. Johns Education Association (SJEA) and the St. Johns County School Board have reached a tentative agreement for the state salary allocation on their 2013-2014 contract for the district’s teachers.

  • One level up on the salary schedule for all teachers
  • An additional $1,300 for all teachers receiving effective or highly effective on their final 2012-2013 evaluation
  • Set aside $255,000 to be utilized for a salary increase for employees in the St. Johns Educational Support Professionals Association; the non-instructional staff support union
  • Set aside $575,650 to be used for teacher salary increases through the development of a performance pay salary schedule and grandfathered salary schedule to comply with Senate Bill 736; a joint committee will develop a schedule for approval by November 30, 2013

Based on the currently negotiated contract, instructional staff will see different increases indicative of their level of individual experience. The average is $2,262 or approximately a 4.7 percent increase in current salary.

“Having a tentative contractual agreement that sets compensation for the state salary allocation is beneficial for both the employees and the district,” said Tim Forson, deputy superintendent for Operations and chief negotiator for the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD). “We were diligent in our efforts to reach an agreement and ensure that what we were doing was right for everyone involved. The ability to work cooperatively is a testament to the leadership among the SJEA, the School Board and the Superintendent.”

“Both sides (SJEA and SJCSD) worked very hard to come up with an agreement which benefits the teachers, taxpayers, the school district and more importantly the children within this district,” said Dawn Chapman, SJEA president.

“We are very grateful for Governor Scott’s recognition of educators and the amazing job they perform with our students throughout the state,” Forson added.

Following ratification, the tentative agreement will be presented to the School Board for acceptance.

SJEA is the recognized bargaining agent for the approximately 2,000 instructional personnel in the school district including teachers, media specialists, guidance counselors, deans and psychologists.

National Merit Semifinalists

Twelve St. Johns County seniors have qualified as National Merit Semifinalists for 2014.

These students placed among the top 1 percent of all students in the country taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test given annually to high school juniors. As 12 of 16,000 semifinalists nationwide, they are now eligible to advance to the finalist competition to vie for 8,000 scholarships worth more than $35 million to be announced in April.

The semifinalists are Margaret May and Carsen Smith from Bartram Trail High School; Allison Davanzo, Hunter Hayes, and Connor Michalski from Creekside High School; Jesse Chen, Devon Crawford, Lilian Dove, Farina Khandadia, and Madison Stenzel from Allen D. Nease High School; Julia Sardinas from Ponte Vedra High School; Madeleine Schneider from St. Augustine High School.

The district also had one National Achievement Scholarship Semifinalist recognizing black students, Tristan Memory from NHS. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes the highest-scoring black students in each state who took the PSAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as a junior in high school.

All semifinalists will be recognized at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, October 8 at 6 p.m. in the School Board Administration Building auditorium at 40 Orange Street.

Cenergistic Energy Excellence Award

The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) has achieved over $22,300,000 in cost avoidance since implementing its energy savings plan five years ago and earned the Cenergistic Energy Excellence Award, which was presented at yesterday’s monthly School Board meeting. Cenergistic helps organizations reduce consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water. Its approach is built on a proprietary methodology, which optimizes clients’ infrastructure, improves internal processes and changes behavior to ensure that savings endure.

As part of the program, SJCSD Energy Manager Al Crutchfield tracks energy consumption, including electricity, water, sewer, natural gas and fuel oil, using energy-accounting software. By tracking consumption and analyzing energy use, he can quickly identify and correct areas that need immediate attention.

“Reaching this savings mark is a significant milestone,” said Dr. William S. Spears, chairman and founder of Cenergistic. “The SJCSD has achieved success by consistently implementing the organizational behavior-based approach to energy conservation and maintaining productive efforts at all levels of the organization. The Superintendent and School Board, along with other administration, faculty and staff members are to be commended for clearly fulfilling their commitment to being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money and the environment.”

A key benefit of the Cenergistic program is that all costs come out of the existing utility budget, with savings projected to more than pay for the program, as it has done for the SJCSD. While dollar savings are significant, the energy program’s environmental impact is also noteworthy.

“The cost savings of implementing and maintaining this program has enabled our district to keep programs and services that might have otherwise been eliminated or reduced due to several years of budget cuts,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “I am very proud of all of our staff and administrators for being so mindful of energy consumption and making a conscious effort to substantially avoid energy costs.”

Beaver Toyota Scion St. Augustine Donation

Beaver Toyota Scion St. Augustine set out to wow the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) and did just that when General Manager Matt Calavan presented the district with a check for $100,000 during its School Board meeting today. The check was handed over by “Bucky the Beaver” and received by School Board Chair Tommy Allen and Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner.

“We are extremely grateful for this donation,” said Joyner. “As new members of our business community, Beaver Toyota’s support will further many activities and programs that were in need of funding.”

Programs and activities that will reap the benefits of this generous donation include The Webster School Camp Champion afterschool program, the Accelerated Reader program at Hartley Elementary School, Take Stock in Children (TCIS) scholarships, grant funding for teachers through getonthebusstjohns.org, professional development opportunities for teachers, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of St. Johns County, CHARACTER COUNTS! and the Teacher of the Year celebration. In addition, Beaver Toyota will be seeking additional ways to promote their corporate social responsibility throughout the community.

“The community has made us feel at home in such a short time, and we are honored to support the St. Johns County School District in a variety of activities,” said Calavan. “We moved here with nine families to make St. Johns County home for both Beaver Toyota and many of our employees.”

Beaver Toyota Scion St. Augustine is a premier Florida Scion and Toyota dealer with a huge selection of new and used vehicles from which to choose. In addition, customers enjoy special vehicle offers every day, an online inventory, service and parts department and outstanding financing options. For more information, visit www.beavertoyotastaugustine.com.