Principal Appointments for Ponte Vedra High School and Fruit Cove Middle School

Steve McCormick, principal of Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS), has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS). McCormick will replace Principal Craig Speziale who lost his battle against cancer earlier this year.

Lynn O’Connor, assistant principal of PVHS, has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of FCMS. Recommendations for McCormick and O’Connor will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at their June 10 meeting.

McCormick has been employed with the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) since 1995 and is in his seventh year as principal of FCMS. He has also served as dean of students at Bartram Trail and Allen D. Nease high schools and served as assistant principal at Alice B. Landrum Middle School (LMS) and Bartram Trail High School.

FCMS has been an “A” school every year throughout McCormick’s tenure. In 2011 it received recognition as the fifth-highest ranked middle school in the state of Florida. FCMS has received the Golden School Award each year since 2007 for exemplary volunteer programs, as well as the Five Star School designation for community involvement.

“Obviously, replacing Craig is a very difficult task. I know that Steve McCormick is a leader who will carry on the excellence at Ponte Vedra High School,” said Joyner. “He is an experienced, high-performing principal with a great knowledge of the needs of the students and the community. He will be an outstanding principal at PVHS.”

McCormick holds a bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York at Cortland, a master’s degree from Indiana State University and a certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve the Ponte Vedra community,” said McCormick. “Craig Speziale was an exceptional leader, friend, and mentor. He instilled a love of learning coupled with high expectations in everyone he touched. As a community, we will continue building on this tradition of excellence both in and out of the classroom.”

O’Connor has more than 30 years in education with the last 18 years spent with the SJCSD. She started her career in St. Johns County as a secondary science teacher at Landrum Middle School (LMS). She was at LMS for nine years before joining the district administration as the program coordinator for Gifted Education and subsequently the program specialist for Secondary Science and Gifted Education. She then served as the curriculum resource coordinator at FCMS and the assistant principal at LMS before joining PVHS as the assistant principal in 2012. Throughout her long career she was also a teacher in Owego, NY and in Duval County.

“Lynn O’Connor is the perfect leader to carry on the great work at Fruit Cove,” stated Joyner. “She has the heart of a middle school leader, and will take the school to the next level of excellence. Her strength in instructional leadership, relationship building and overall school management make her an ideal fit.” She has served in several professional service committees at the school, district and even state levels in which many of these were focused on improving secondary education. She was chosen as the Teacher of the Year at LMS in 2004 and was also a National Science Teacher Association award winner in 1983.

O’Connor holds a bachelor’s degree from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY, a master’s degree from the University of South Florida and a certificate in Educational Leadership and Gifted Endorsement from the University of North Florida.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead such an outstanding school as Fruit Cove Middle School,” said O’Connor. “It is my goal to continue the academic excellence that has been put in place by Mr. McCormick and his staff and is exhibited every year by their students. Not only is Fruit Cove strong academically, but it has superior extra-curricular opportunities which make the middle school years more rewarding. My passion has always been for middle grades children by helping them to successfully navigate those challenging pre-teen years and by working closely with the parents, teachers and the community.”