SJCSD Superintendent Search Interviews and Community Reception Update

The members of the St. Johns County School Board have selected four finalists to be interviewed for the next Superintendent of the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD):

Dr. Elizabeth Alves
Dr. Vickie Cartwright
Mr. Tim Forson
Mr. Mark Porter

The interviews and community reception which were postponed due to Hurricane Matthew have been rescheduled for November 1 and 2, 2016. The detailed schedule of events will be posted soon.



Groundbreaking Ceremonies Postponed

Please be advised that the groundbreaking ceremonies scheduled on Monday, October 10 for K-8 School KK and the expansion at Allen D. Nease High School as well as the ceremonies scheduled on Wednesday, October 12 for Elementary School M and K-8 School LL have been postponed.

The new dates will be announced once these ceremonies are rescheduled.


Lifetime Achievement Awards 2016

Dr. Leonard Pellicer and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Anthony Coleman were honored as the recipients of the 2016 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 was made to Coleman and Pellicer by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner and School Board Member Bill Mignon on Friday, September 30 prior to kickoff at the football game between Pedro Menendez and Clay high schools.

Dr. Leonard Pellicer was born and raised in St. Augustine and graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1963. In high school he lettered in four sports and served as the captain of the football, basketball and track teams. After graduation, Pellicer earned his bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida which eventually led him to serve as a professor and chair of Educational Leadership at the University of South Carolina (USC).

During his time at USC he founded and was named the inaugural director of the South Carolina Educational Policy Center. He also served as the co-developer and director of the African- American Professors Program which was created to address the shortage of African-American professors in the college and university systems. For his efforts he was recognized by the USC Black Faculty and Staff Association with its Affirmative Action Award. Pellicer retired from the University of South Carolina in June 2000 after 22 years and was awarded the title of distinguished Professor Emeritus by the USC Board of Trustees. He then served seven years as the Dean of the College of Education and Organizational Leadership at the University of LaVerne in California.

Pellicer is the author or co-author of seven books and more than 60 monographs, book chapters and journal articles. Several books including “A Handbook for Teacher Leaders” and “Caring Enough to Lead” have become best sellers in the field of education.

He and his wife Nancy Clifton Pellicer have been married for 48 years and returned home to St. Augustine in 2007. He is committed to local service and has shown this through his volunteerism with Meals on Wheels, the Early Childhood Coalition and the St. Johns Council on Aging. He is a board member on Forward March and an executive board member on Post 37 and a frequent guest editorialist at “The St. Augustine Record.”

Deputy Anthony Coleman was born in Palatka, FL and attended Hastings High School where he graduated in 1983. He played varsity football and ran track, earning his spot as the state champion for the 100 meter in 1982. He was awarded a scholarship from Edward Waters College for track and went on to complete the St. Augustine Technical Law Enforcement Academy and was a graduate of Vincennes University.

He has served as a deputy for the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years and for the last 20 years, Coleman has been a youth resource deputy as well as a coach, mentor, teacher and role model to thousands of St. Johns County children. Most of his career as a youth resource deputy has been spent at Pedro Menendez High School (PMHS) though he has also provided service at Gaines Alternative School, Murray and Gamble Rogers middle schools.

Coleman lives by the motto to protect and serve and this was shown most recently when he saved a toddler from a home fire in Hastings in 2015 and subsequently received an award for his exceptional service. He was named Officer of the Year in 1999 and received the Guy White Award, the highest award given by St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar. Coleman serves as a board member of the Hope Pavilion Boys Home in Hastings, FL. In this role he helps to guide the vision of the organization which is dedicated to helping teens and young adults who have experienced neglect, abandonment or distressed family situations. Not only does he sit on the board, but he has a direct impact by mentoring these individuals and providing them the tools and skills necessary to become productive adults. It is also not uncommon to witness him volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in St. Augustine helping children and teens with homework and providing positive feedback.

Ingrained in the Hastings community, Coleman serves as a Sunday school teacher at the Lord’s Temple Ministry.  In 1990 he assisted in starting the Police Athletic League football program after he started coaching children from Flagler Estates. He has coached children from ages 7 to 16 in football, track, t-ball, baseball and basketball.

Coleman and his wife Cheryl have been married for over 25 years. They have six children and 10 grandchildren.

Past recipients of the Learning Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award are former Superintendent of Schools Otis Mason, the late Judge Richard Watson, former 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 Vice Chair Tommy Allen, St. Johns Technical High School and St. Johns Virtual School Principal Cynthia Williams, Assistant Superintendent 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, Allen D. 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, the late SAHS teacher Hattie Jenkins, former-Mayor Len Weeks, retired Director of Risk Management Carol Holtz, Speech-Language Pathologist Katherine Batenhorst, president of The Browning Agency of Ponte Vedra, Inc. Jim Browning, retired teacher and guidance counselor Barbara McClain, and Pastor Smiley Sturgis.

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


Groundbreaking Ceremonies

UPDATE: Please be advised that the groundbreaking ceremonies scheduled on Monday, October 10 for K-8 School KK and the expansion at Allen D. Nease High School as well as the ceremonies scheduled on Wednesday, October 12 for Elementary School M and K-8 School LL have been postponed.

The new dates will be announced once these ceremonies are rescheduled.


The St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) will hold groundbreaking ceremonies on Monday, October 10 and Wednesday, October 12 for four schools located in northern St. Johns County. The public is invited to attend.

The ceremonies for K-8 School KK and the expansion at Allen D. Nease High School (NHS) will be held on Monday, October 10.  Events will begin at 9 a.m. at K-8 School KK, located at 2135 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra, FL 32081 (best accessed from the Old Palm Valley Road and Crosswater Parkway intersection to the east of Advanced Disposal headquarters).  This will be followed at 10:30 a.m. by a ceremony for NHS, located at 10550 Ray Road, Ponte Vedra, FL  32081.

The ceremonies will continue on Wednesday, October 12 for Elementary School M and K-8 School LL.  Events will begin at 9 a.m. at Elementary M, located at 2675 Pacetti Road, St. Augustine, FL  32092.  At 10:30 a.m. a ceremony for K-8 School LL, located at 1365 Shetland Road, St. Johns, FL  32259 (in the Aberdeen development) will take place.

The construction of Elementary School M, K-8 School KK, K-8 School LL and the expansion at NHS are part of the school district’s Five-Year Building Plan. Elementary School M and the new classroom building at NHS are scheduled to open in August 2017.  K-8 Schools KK and LL are scheduled to open in August 2018.

The architects and contractors for these facilities are as follows:

Elementary School M:  SchenkelShultz Architecture; STG Contracting Group

K-8 School KK:  Harvard Jolly Architecture; Charles Perry Partners Inc. (CPPI)

K-8 School LL:  Harvard Jolly Architecture; AFL Construction, LLC

NHS Expansion:  Pond & Company; Barton Malow Company

The ceremonies will also feature students from NHS and Bartram Trail High School academies and ROTC programs and Creekside High School academies.


SJCSD Superintendent Search Upcoming Events

The members of the St. Johns County School Board have selected four finalists to be interviewed for the next Superintendent of the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD):

Dr. Elizabeth Alves
Dr. Vickie Cartwright
Mr. Tim Forson
Mr. Mark Porter

To view the interview schedule, visit the SJCSD’s homepage and click on the Superintendent Search button. Candidate interviews with the School Board are open to the public and will take place on Thursday, October 6 in the Auditorium of the SJCSD Administrative Building, 40 Orange Street, St. Augustine, 32084. Please refer to the interview schedule for specific times on October 6.

In addition, all employees and community residents are invited to a community reception for the finalists on Thursday, October 6, at 6 p.m. at First Coast Technical College – Building C, 2890 Collins Ave., St. Augustine, 32084.  Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from and meet each of the finalists as well as provide input to the School Board for consideration.


National Merit Semifinalists 2017

Seventeen St. Johns County School District seniors and one home school student have qualified as National Merit Semifinalists for 2017.

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 18 of 16,000 semifinalists nationwide, they are now eligible to advance to the finalist competition to vie for about 7,500 scholarships worth more than $33 million to be announced in April 2017.

The semifinalists are Erin Kirsche and Samuel Turner from Bartram Trail High School; Miranda Diaz, Jackson Mahne, Robert Schrader and Elijah Smith from Creekside High School; Ava Hampton, John Hiltonen, Malavika Nair, Suzanne Raybuck and Shelby Wallace from Allen D. Nease High School; John Fox, William Harrington, Clare Hartman, Carson Richter, Parker Shannon and Adam Snowden from Ponte Vedra High School; and Grace Remmer, home school.

All semifinalists will be recognized at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, October 11 at 6 p.m. in the School Board Administration Building auditorium at 40 Orange Street.


Graduation 2017

The St. Johns County School District announces the schedule of 2017 graduation ceremonies for St. Johns County high schools, St. Johns Virtual School and First Coast Technical College (FCTC).

Thursday, January 26
7 p.m. First Coast Technical College Bldg. C, FCTC Campus
Wednesday, May 17
7 p.m. St. Johns Technical High School St. Augustine High School Auditorium
Thursday, May 18
4:30 p.m. St. Johns Virtual School Bldg. C, FCTC Campus
Monday, May 22
7:30 p.m. Pedro Menendez High School St. Augustine Amphitheatre (SAA)
Tuesday, May 23
4 p.m. First Coast Technical College Bldg. C, FCTC Campus
7:30 p.m. St. Augustine High School SAA
Wednesday, May 24
 3 p.m. Ponte Vedra High School University of North Florida (UNF)
 7:30 p.m. Allen D. Nease High School  UNF
Thursday, May 25
3 p.m. Bartram Trail High School UNF
7:30 p.m. Creekside High School UNF


Town Hall Meeting 9-12-16

A Town Hall meeting is scheduled to discuss potential Attendance Zoning changes for the new Elementary School currently under construction and planned to open for the 2017-2018 School Year.  Elementary School M is located at 2675 Pacetti Road, St. Augustine, FL, 32092 and is being constructed using monies from the half-cent sales tax passed in November 2015.

The meeting will take place at Pacetti Bay Middle School, located at 245 Meadowlark Lane, on Monday, September 12 at 6 p.m.

A proposed zoning plan will be released at the Town Hall meeting, along with an opportunity for the public to provide comment.  School Board members and district staff will be in attendance.

At this time, the proposal impacts the current attendance zones of Mill Creek Elementary, Wards Creek Elementary, Palencia Elementary School in the vicinity of International Golf Parkway and The Webster School in the area of SR 16 and CR 208.

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Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year

Cynthia Williams, principal of St. Johns Technical High School (SJTHS) and St. Johns Virtual School (SJVS), has been selected as the St. Johns County School District’s (SJCSD) nominee for the 2016-2017 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and Jeanette Murphy, assistant principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary School (CCES), was chosen as the district’s nominee for the 2016-2017 Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award.

These programs honor principals and assistant principals who utilize teamwork and leadership skills to increase student performance, establish partnerships with parents and community members, and promote safe learning environments.

Awardees are also recognized for ethical leadership and their use of innovative technology as well as their commitment to forging personal, social, economic, and cultural relationships in the classroom, the school and the community to build and support a learning organization focused on student success.

Williams has been the principal of SJTHS since 2014 and was appointed as principal of SJVS in 2016.  With a career in education spanning 27 years, Williams has served as the turnaround specialist and assistant principal at SJTHS and assistant principal at Pedro Menendez High School and South Woods and Hastings elementary schools. From 1995-1999, she was the guidance counselor at Hastings Elementary School. She was selected as the St. Johns County Teacher of the Year in 1998 and went on to represent the district at the state level. She also worked in higher education supporting students in their quest for academic success at Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Bethune-Cookman University.

SJTHS has expanded programs under Williams’ leadership and she never misses an opportunity to market the school to potential students and their parents. She was instrumental in adding sixth grade to the school in order to serve more students in a way that meets their career goals and learning styles. The graduation rate of SJTHS students has nearly doubled under her tenure and she implemented the Academy of Culinary Arts last year.

“Cynthia is a wonderful example of outstanding leadership and her focus to ensure an individual learning path for her students is admirable,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner.  “She is dedicated to ensuring that we hire the very best through her overwhelming commitment to the district’s recruitment efforts and it is not uncommon that she remains a mentor to new teachers years after their first days in the classroom.”

Williams holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree as well as certification in Educational Leadership from FAMU.

Outstanding Assistant Principal Nominee Jeanette Murphy has over 19 years of combined educational experience. Before joining St. Johns County in 2004 as a middle school math teacher, she was an elementary school teacher and reading specialist in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In 2008, she became the assistant principal at John A. Crookshank Elementary and went on to serve in this capacity at Fruit Cove Middle School before joining CCES in 2015.

As an assistant principal Murphy has developed and guided a team to review and create a standards-based grading policy and served as a mentor to other assistant principals. Her love of professional development has spurred her to form a leadership cadre, perform technology demonstrations and create professional learning communities for paraprofessionals and new teachers.

“Jeanette takes the initiative to ensure that she becomes ingrained in the culture of a school,” said Joyner. “At CCES she has furthered efforts to recognize students through CHARACTER COUNTS! and streamlined processes at the school to be more efficient.”

Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and a master’s degree from Barry University. She also has a certificate in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University.

These two St. Johns County nominees have been forwarded to the state where they will compete at the regional level. The statewide winner in each category will be announced later this year.


Opening Day 2016

The student count for the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) on opening day, August 10, 2016, was 34,906, an increase of 1,850 students or 5.3 percent over last year’s first day number of 33,056. St. Johns County has continued to be one of the fastest growing school districts in the state.

The high school student count was 11,016 with 2,259 students at Bartram Trail High School, 1,958 at Creekside High School, 1,307 at Pedro Menendez High School, 2,193 at Allen D. Nease High School, 1,663 at Ponte Vedra High School and 1,636 at St. Augustine High School. There were also 270 students in attendance at St. Johns Technical High School (SJTHS).

Middle school attendance totaled 7,101, with student headcounts ranging from 660 at Sebastian Middle School to 1,334 at Pacetti Bay Middle School. The other first day figures were Alice B. Landrum Middle School with 1,134, Fruit Cove Middle School with 1,165, R. J. Murray Middle School with 700, Gamble Rogers Middle School with 857 and Switzerland Point Middle School with 1,251.

The district’s K-8 schools totaled 4,180. Liberty Pines Academy had a first day headcount of 1,372, Patriot Oaks Academy with 1,362 and Valley Ridge Academy with 1,446.

The elementary school population totaled 12,008; however, this count includes approximately 33 percent of the kindergarten population since schools stagger the kindergarten start date over a three-day period. Another 331 students are enrolled at the district’s alternative, charter and Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) schools.

First Coast Technical College has 343 students enrolled in its adult education and dual enrollment programs at the St. Augustine, Palatka, Barge Port and North campuses. This number does not include those students enrolled in night programs that start today.

“Today was a wonderful start to the school year and I am very pleased with the planning and preparation that was evident as principals, teachers and support staff welcomed the students,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “I witnessed our students reconnecting with friends and ready to begin their learning. The custodial and maintenance staffs have worked hard to ensure that our schools presented well and will function even better. The food service team was very organized and ready to meet the needs of our growing district.”

“I am thankful to our transportation department, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and their PSAs, as well as the numerous crossing guards who ensure children get to and from our schools safely,” he added. “I am also very appreciative to our parents for their continued support and their patience as we work through the first few days of this school year.”

SJCSD staff will continue to monitor attendance numbers, balance classrooms and refine bus routes throughout the week.



School Grades 2016

School grades released today by the Florida Department of Education show that the St. Johns County School District continues to be the top performing district in the state for the eighth year in a row and is one of only three “A” rated districts in Florida. St. Johns County had 22 “A” schools, six “B” schools, four “C” schools and one “D” school.

Eleven elementary schools, four middle schools, all three of the district’s K-8 academies and four high schools received a grade of “A” this year. Durbin Creek Elementary School’s grade is pending and is expected to be an “A.”

“I am very proud of the performance of our children; this has been a strategic effort by our outstanding teachers to implement the new and more rigorous standards,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “It is gratifying to see how our teachers have embraced the standards and continue to be committed to every student’s success.”

The elementary schools receiving an “A” are Cunningham Creek Elementary, W.D. Hartley Elementary, Hickory Creek Elementary, R.B. Hunt Elementary, Julington Creek Elementary, Mill Creek Elementary, Ocean Palms Elementary, Palencia Elementary, PVPV/Rawlings Elementary, Timberlin Creek Elementary and Wards Creek Elementary.

The middle schools with an “A” are Fruit Cove Middle, Alice B. Landrum Middle, Pacetti Bay Middle and Switzerland Point Middle. Liberty Pines, Patriot Oaks and Valley Ridge academies received an “A” as did Bartram Trail, Creekside, Allen D. Nease and Ponte Vedra high schools.

Ketterlinus Elementary, South Woods Elementary, R.J. Murray Middle, Gamble Rogers Middle, Pedro Menendez High and St. Augustine High schools received a “B” this year. John A. Crookshank Elementary, Otis A. Mason Elementary, Osceola Elementary and Sebastian Middle schools received a “C” this year. The Webster School received a “D.”

This is the first year the new, more difficult school grading system is in place under the Florida Standards Assessment which includes a change in the metrics used to calculate learning gains. Additional details and information can be found at

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