Principal Appointment for Ocean Palms Elementary School

Jessica Richardson, assistant principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary School (CCES), has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Ocean Palms Elementary School. Her nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at its June 10 meeting.

She will replace Principal Betsy Wierda, who has announced her retirement following this school year.

“We wish to express our gratitude to Betsy Wierda for her years of service to the children in St. Johns County,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “The passion and dedication she displayed in her work is greatly appreciated.”

Richardson started her teaching career in St. Johns County 15 years ago and is in her third year of serving as assistant principal at CCES. She has taught second, third and fourth grade as well as served as an instructional literacy coach. Before joining CCES she worked at PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School and Ocean Palms Elementary School, where she held her first position with the district as a third-grade teacher. Richardson’s fondest memories of teaching come from years spent working with students in the unique learning environment that an inclusion classroom offers.

Richardson was chosen as the Assistant Principal of the Year for the district and is currently serving in that capacity. Seeing students actively engaged in learning and growing as leaders is why Richardson became a teacher and ultimately why she decided to become an administrator. She is committed to high standards and expectations of excellence in education, collaborative leadership models, and meeting the learning and life needs of the students, staff, and families.

“I knew immediately who would be a great candidate for the next principal at Ocean Palms,” stated Joyner. “Jessica Richardson is an outstanding instructional leader with excellent skills in all areas. I have great confidence in her ability and know she will serve the community effectively.”

Richardson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida, a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University and is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in the area of Middle Childhood Generalist.

“I am overjoyed with the opportunity to return to Ocean Palms in the capacity of principal,” said Richardson. “Continuing the strong foundation of excellence that has been established by Mrs. Betsy Weirda and her staff is a privilege. It is with a humble heart and a great sense of enthusiasm that I embark on this new journey alongside the amazing staff and community of Ocean Palms Elementary.”