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March 2015

2014-2015 School-Related Employee of the Year Winner

174Amy Lynch, school nurse at Liberty Pines Academy (LPA), has been named St. Johns County School District’s 2014-2015 School-Related Employee of the Year. Her selection was announced by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner at last week’s School-Related Employee of the Year reception held Thursday, March 26 at the World Golf Hall of Fame Museum.

Lynch was selected from 42 nominees for her exemplary job performance, dedication, interpersonal skills, leadership ability and training to upgrade skills as well as her contributions to individual schools and the district office.

She has been employed as the school nurse at LPA for four years and possesses a sincere willingness to help students and staff. Attention to detail and maintaining proper information is paramount to Lynch so that she is able to provide the students she serves with the appropriate care. She recently researched and developed stock epinephrine guidelines for the treatment of life threatening allergies which is now under consideration by the SJCSD School Board. She is an advocate for healthy living and helped to develop new initiatives at LPA as well as educate parents, students and staff on these.

“Mrs. Lynch exemplifies trustworthiness and devotion to her calling as a nurse,” says Melissa Petty, BSN, RN; coordinator of Health Services for the SJCSD. “She always maintains a high level of professionalism and genuine compassion and I am very proud to work with her.”

Lynch is a team player who volunteers her time to help with afterschool and weekend activities to ensure the safety of students. She is seen as a valuable resource for other nurses who are seeking guidance in responsible organization as well as skill mastery. Lynch is a self-starter who participates in professional development regularly and shares the knowledge she gains with her fellow employees no matter their level or skill.

“Mrs. Lynch is a positive person who is devoted to serving others in a healthy, safe and loving environment,” said LPA Principal Judith Thayer. “Her caring nature shines through in everything she does and she has my highest admiration and praise.”

Lynch’s name and information packet has been forwarded to the Florida Department of Education as SJCSD’s representative.

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2015 All-County High School Art Show Winners

The St. Johns County School District and the St. Augustine Art Association recently announced the winners of the 10th annual All-County High School Art Show. The St. Augustine Art Association is presenting the All-County High School Art Show March 6-29. Art teachers in all district high schools selected a combined total of 150 student works of art for the exhibit. The materials range from experimental digital media and graphite studies to abstract pottery and sculptural assemblages. Installed by teacher Rebecca Williams and coordinated by St. Johns County Fine Arts Program Specialist Tommy Bledsoe, the exhibition was judged by Cable Spence, an artist, musician and Advisory Board member of the St. Augustine Art Association. Students won cash awards and memberships to the St. Augustine Art Association. The Best in Show and first-place winners will be recognized at the April 14 School Board meeting. The St. Augustine Art Association is located at 22 Marine Street, St. Augustine.

Category Name High School Teacher
Best in Show Olivia Testasecca St. Augustine Melanie Forsythe
1st Autumn Forget St. Augustine David Olsen
2nd Olivia Eastman St. Augustine David Olsen
3rd Lily Deeter St. Augustine David Olsen
Honorable Mention Alexa Carter Bartram Trail Deanna Lindemann
Honorable Mention Holly Strickland Creekside Nicole Bak
1st Jordyn Quintanilla Bartram Trail Deanna Lindemann
2nd Brooke Dowling Ponte Vedra Edwin Consunji
3rd Lauren McLevey Creekside Nicole Bak
Honorable Mention Althea Williams Allen D. Nease Megan Welch
Honorable Mention Sarah Prosser Creekside Nicole Bak
1st Athena Giani St. Augustine Melanie Forsythe
2nd Haley Bracken Creekside Tracy Reed-DaCosta
3rd Mackenzie King Creekside Miriam Provisero
Honorable Mention Logan Smith Creekside Tracy Reed-DaCosta
Honorable Mention Anna Kaufman Ponte Vedra Jennifer Lee
1st Veronica Worrell Ponte Vedra Renee Reyes
2nd Michaela Heinrich Allen D. Nease David Maynard
3rd Laine Steverson Ponte Vedra Renee Reyes
Honorable Mention Allison Wilson St. Augustine Susan Smith
Honorable Mention Brittany Donor Bartram Trail Marisa Yow
Sculpture/3 D      
1st Emily Kayworth Pedro Menendez Danielle Bruner
2nd Kayla Geoffrion Creekside Rachel Kurtz
3rd Natalie Wanjek Allen D. Nease David Maynard
Honorable Mention Valerie Coben St. Augustine Susan Smith
Honorable Mention Victoria Havekost Creekside Rachel Kurtz

2015 History Fair Winners

Elizabeth Fox, Frank Lukens and Harrison Snowden of Ponte Vedra High School won top honors in the annual St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) History Fair. Their project, “Sydney Farber: Cancer Crusader,” was awarded the Overall Most Outstanding Project, and the students were presented with a check for $150 from the St. Augustine Historical Society.

Over 1,200 students participated at the school level. The SJCSD History Fair featured 100 projects represented by 150 participants. The overall winners will be recognized at the School Board Meeting on Tuesday, April 14. Projects were on display at Valley Ridge Academy which also hosted the awards ceremony. Travis Brown, SJCSD secondary social studies program specialist, coordinated the history fair.

Participating schools included Liberty Pines Academy (LPA) Valley Ridge Academy (VRA), Sebastian Middle School (SMS), Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS), Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS), Switzerland Point Middle School (SPMS), Bartram Trail High School (BTHS), Allen D. Nease High School (NHS) and Creekside High School (CHS).

This year’s History Fair also commemorates St. Augustine’s 450th Celebration. The SJCSD and the St. Augustine Historical Society sponsored a special St. Augustine 450th Celebration award. The winner was Trevor Schultz from SPMS with his documentary on Henry Flagler. Two projects on Henry Flagler by Mya Helhoski from SMS and Avery Lusk from SMS each received runner-up recognition.

Judges for the History Fair represented St. Johns County’s historical community. Prize money was generously provided by The St. Augustine Historical Society, The Colonial Quarter, The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, Brockington and Associates, the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration, Castillo de San Marcos, the Colonial Dames of St. Augustine, Smoothie King, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, World Golf Hall of Fame, the Northeast Florida Regional Airport, Fort Menendez at the Old Florida Museum, The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, Chipolte Mexican Grill, St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, The First Colony Exhibition in St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Gardens, Publix Charities, RPM Automotive, JAX Vision Care.

The category winners are listed below.


Junior Division
1st Place- Ana Sophia Williams, SMS
2nd Place- Taylor Brown, FCMS
3rd Place- Catalina Casillas, FCMS

Senior Division
1st Place-Jacob Mier, PVHS
2nd Place-Joseph Sarci, PVHS
3rd Place-Ariana Genovese, PVHS


Junior Division
1st Place-Joshua Zalkan, SPMS
2nd Place-Aidan Mather, SPMS
3rd Place- Katherine Gargon, SMS

Senior Division
1st Place-Abel Haynes, PVHS
2nd Place-Alexander Celentano, NHS


Junior Division
1st Place-Alexander Brailsford and James Brailsford, FCMS
2nd Place-Isha Chekuri and Farah Contractor, FCMS
3rd Place- Sofia Martinez and Lynne Park, LPA

Senior Division
1st Place-Elizabeth Fox, Frank Lukens and Harrison Snowden, PVHS
2nd Place-Alexander Lasala and Johnathon Schott, PVHS
3rd Place-Nicholas Greco and Alexandra Hess, PVHS


Junior Division
1st Place-Chloe Vaughn, FCMS
2nd Place-Hayden Wardell, SPMS
3rd Place-Mackenzie Platt, SMS

Senior Division
1st Place-Victor Manly, PVHS
2nd Place-Perri Truster, PVHS
3rd Place-Sarah Thomasson, PVHS


Junior Division
1st Place-Natasha Najmi and Samantha Sberna, FCMS
2nd Place-Susanna Matza and Diana Coello, SMS
3rd Place-Madelynn Thompson and Delaney Cantrell, SPMS

Senior Division
1st Place-Paxton Threatt, Theodore Cheng, Julian Sanchez and Marc Moreira, NHS
2nd Place- Reagan Darrah and Molly Ronan, PVHS
3rd Place-Emily Benson and Jonathan Magiske, PVHS


Junior Division
1st Place- Sophia Nguyen, FCMS


Junior Division
1st Place- Mia Gomez and Skylar Kyle, SPMS
2nd Place-Keegan Bedell and Garrett Owen, SPMS


Junior Division
1st Place- Kelsey Zweibohmer, LPA
2nd Place-Trevor Schultz, SPMS
3rd Place-Wade Miller, SPMS

Senior Division
1st Place- Nicholas Lopez, NHS


Junior Division
1st Place- Camille Aguilar and Sanya Bansal, SPMS
In addition to the winners above, several special awards were presented and are listed below.

Great Leadership-provided by Smoothie King
Griffin Slack, SPMS

Exhibit Design-provided by Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum
Rachel Stewart and Lauren Laughlin, FCMS

Showstopping Research-provided by The Colonial Quarter
Kristopher Bierlein, Samuel Shaffer, Angelicabelle Rivera-Soto, CHS

Sports Legacy-provided by The World Golf Hall of Fame
Reis Buresh, Kiley Hurst and Megan Pagana, VRA

Website Design-provided by Brockington and Associates
Joshua Zalkan, SPMS

Visually Appealing-provided by JAX Vision Care
Kathryn Choate and Theresia Chvala, NHS

Fashion Legacy-provided by JAX Vision Care
Ariana Genovese, PVHS

Aviation Legacy-provided by the Northeast Florida Regional Airport
Emily Benson and Jonathan Magiske, PVHS

Ongoing Legacy-provided by the Fort Menendez at the Old Florida Museum
Manaal Saqib, LPA

Ancient History-provided by the Fort Menendez at the Old Florida Museum
Gavin Gundaker, LPA

Automotive Legacy-provided by RPM Automotive
Kassidy Helinsky and Kira Dortch, CHS

Animal Awareness-provided by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park
Katherine Gargon, SMS

Pirate History-provided by The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum
Ali Baghalan, VRA

Lifetime Leadership-provided by Chipolte Mexican Grill
Grady Gilligan and Joshua Miller, NHS

Scientific Research-provided by Publix Charities
Sreenivas Kuntamukkala and Grayton Walker, LPA

Historic Perserverance-provided by The First Colony Exhibition in St. Augustine
Anceline Imson and Reanne Zukowski, VRA

Historical Significance-provided by St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation
Ana Sophia Williams, SMS

Twenty projects representing six schools were selected to compete in the State History Fair scheduled for May 3-5 in Tallahassee. History Fair Director Travis Brown is coordinating the trip. The participants are Alexander Brailsford and James Brailsford, FCMS; Victor Manly, PVHS; Jacob Mier, PVHS; Chloe Vaughn, FCMS; Joshua Zalkan, SPMS; Paxton Theatt, Theodore Cheng, Julian Sanchez and Marc Moreira, NHS; Elizabeth Fox, Frank Lukens and Harrison Snowden, PVHS; Kelsey Zweibohmer, LPA; Abel Haynes, PVHS; Ana Sophia Williams, SMS; Hayden Wardell, SPMS; Natasha Najmi and Samanth Sberna, FCMS; Reagan Darrah and Molly Ronan, PVHS; Nicholas Lopez, NHS; Alexander Lasala and Johnathon Schott, PVHS; Aidan Mather, SPMS; Perri Truster, PVHS; Taylor Brown, FCMS; Joseph Sarci, PVHS; Camille Aguilar and Sanya Bansal, SPMS.
The SJCSD History Fair is produced in conjunction with the National History Fair sponsored by National History Day. The project-based learning that is emphasized by the History Fair provides an excellent opportunity for students to showcase college and career readiness skills including research, writing, speaking and creative thinking while embracing history.

2014-2015 School-Related Employees of the Year

 004The 2014-2015 School-Related Employees of the Year were recognized at this morning’s regular School Board Meeting. Employees were selected from each of the district’s 36 schools, along with five district representatives and one charter school. School-related employees enhance the educational 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 were chosen for the significant contributions they have made in their schools and community, and to the school district as a whole. Criteria for the award includes 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 candidates and the winner of the St. Johns County School-Related Employee of the Year will be announced at a reception to honor all of the nominees on Thursday, March 26 at 6 p.m. at the World Golf Hall of Fame Museum. The St. Johns County nominee’s name will then be submitted to the state to compete at the regional level.

A list of the 2014-2015 School-Related Employees of the Year is below.

Carolyn Johnson Academic Services Department
Shawna Hastings Bartram Trail High School
Victoria Davenport Business and Fiscal Services
Tracey Pitts Creekside High School
Joey Strickland  John A. Crookshank Elementary School
Jody Hunter Cunningham Creek Elementary School
Lauri Frost Durbin Creek Elementary School
JoJean Ponce First Coast Technical College
Julie Doolittle Fruit Cove Middle School
Jasmin Wheeler Gaines and Transition School
Terry Polaskey W.D. Hartley Elementary School
Lillian Watts Hickory Creek Elementary School
Christina Preston Human Resources
Petrina Finch R.B. Hunt Elementary School
Jennifer Smith Information Technology
Debra Higbea Julington Creek Elementary School
John Harpst Ketterlinus Elementary School
Charron Umlauf Alice B. Landrum Middle School
Amy Lynch Liberty Pines Academy
Johna Baxa Otis A. Mason Elementary School
Charles McCutcheon Pedro Menendez High School
Ann Marie Sindt Mill Creek Elementary School
Michele Torboli R.J. Murray Middle School
Angela Stricklin Allen D. Nease High School
Kerry Fodor Ocean Palms Elementary School
Tisha Humphrey Osceola Elementary School
Joshua Stewart Pacetti Bay Middle School
Susan Solms Palencia Elementary School
Jennifer Secure Patriot Oaks Academy
Kim Barry Ponte Vedra High School
Oona Sidoroff PV/PV-Rawlings Elementary School
Lisa Kilbride Gamble Rogers Middle School
Diana Elswick St. Augustine High School
Terrance McClain St. Johns Technical High School
Jarrod Branco Sebastian Middle School
Mary Tatum South Woods Elementary School
Christine Southworth Switzerland Point Middle School
Alison Cooper Timberlin Creek Elementary
Lisa King Transportation
Wynton Hardy Valley Ridge Academy
Kelly Brown Wards Creek Elementary
Michelle Garren-Hendricks The Webster School