SR 1-17-17 Volume 6, Issue 10

As I experienced my first few days as superintendent I am very grateful for the support and well wishes I have received. Our focus as a district will always be the children and families we serve, but I also put great stock in our work family. People are our greatest asset and we are blessed to have an amazing team throughout the district. I look forward in the coming weeks and months to spending time in our schools and getting to talk with not only students, teachers and administrators, but also support personnel and school staff.

Children are why we do what we do and I will never lose sight of that. Dr. Joyner has sustained an exceptional school district for 14 years and has left me with big shoes to fill. I look forward to growing as a leader and as a district over the years while we prepare our students for the future. I am honored to serve as your superintendent and look forward to working together to prepare every student for the future.

My second day on the job was filled with celebration as I had the pleasure of surprising the five finalists for St. Johns County Teacher of the Year. I know the judges had a very tough choice this year so please join me in congratulating the best of the best: Jennifer Cooper of Pacetti Bay Middle School, Dana Kelly of Cunningham Creek Elementary, Lauren Tate Wade of Ocean Palms Elementary, Ryan Sirak of St. Johns Technical High School and Anje Newbold of Otis A. Mason Elementary.

This is just a small sample of the individuals we are so fortunate to have teaching our children and I am forever amazed at the dedication and professionalism of them all. It will be my honor to recognize these exceptional finalists, and all of our Teachers of the Year, at the 37th annual Teacher of the Year celebration Monday, January 23 at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort. The overall winner will be announced at this banquet and will then be included for consideration as the Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year 2018.

The Rookie Teacher of the Year will also be announced at the awards banquet. This is the 10th year for the rookie award, in which eligible teachers must have taught fewer than three years.

Don’t forget to register for the CHARACTER COUNTS! 6 Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk Saturday, February 4 at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School. This event provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the great character in our community.

Race proceeds support CHARACTER COUNTS! initiatives throughout the St. Johns County School District. The run/walk is open to all ages, and the top three winners will be awarded in each of the age categories as well as the overall male and female finishers. A cash donation will be awarded to the top three schools with the most registrants. Race participants who preregister will receive a tech t-shirt and other goodies from area businesses and organizations. At the finish line, each race participant will receive a commemorative dog tag which is the third design in its series.

There are several other events occurring in the coming weeks which highlight the accomplishments of our students. The St. Johns County Spelling Bee is Wednesday, January 18 at the First Coast Technical College (FCTC) CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center; the High School Showcase at the Renaissance at World Golf Village is January 19 from 3:30-7 p.m. and the school district’s annual Science Fair is Wednesday, February 1 at the FCTC CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center from 9 a.m.-noon.

Cabinet Update

Human Resources


EEE (Empowering Excellence in Educators)

Did you know that every teacher in the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) takes the time each year to reflect upon the effectiveness of their instruction and create a Deliberate Practice Growth Plan in which they select targeted areas of teaching to hone in order to better meet the needs of their students?  Teachers create specific goals and monitor their progress multiple times throughout the year in order to determine if they are meeting the goals or they need to adjust them.  This process provides for opportunities for teachers to collaborate and learn from one another. In addition, teachers can work as a team to disaggregate student achievement data in order to focus lessons and strategies that will have the greatest impact on student learning.

The Human Resources Department would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the dedicated teachers of St. Johns County for the time and effort they put into growing professionally and updating their craft to stay abreast of current, research-based practices to create a truly student-centered learning environment.


Leadership development/learning sessions continue to inform, provide opportunities for interaction and develop the capacity of all participants. Ongoing session topics include facilitative behaviors in the workplace, communication skills, understanding of the SJCSD strategic plan, mission and vision, a focus on character and ethics in the workplace, the culture of SJCSD and leadership skills which support the principles of Servant Leadership. Leadership academy participants discussed the book GRIT and the importance of professional perseverance and passion in the school and district setting.

Leadership session participants discuss the skills necessary to manage change and engage in courageous dialog around their work. These conversations are inspirational as we collaborate to learn from each other.

Professional Development

The SJCSD kicked off the New Year with a day dedicated to planning and professional learning.  On January 4, while students enjoyed the last day of Winter Break, teachers across the district spent the work day entering second quarter grades, reviewing data and planning lessons for the third quarter.  For support staff such as clerks, secretaries, paraprofessionals, etc., a district-wide day of professional learning was held with over 400 non-instructional staff members attending sessions across the district.  Skill-building sessions included Website Design, Excel Spreadsheets 101, Records Management Procedures and Outlook Tips and Tricks as well as school safety and interpersonal sessions such as CPR/First Aid, Managing Difficult Conversations and Professional Crisis Management.  In addition, some support staff participated in sessions designed to increase knowledge of existing district initiatives including AVID Elementary:  What’s our Focus? and CHARACTER COUNTS! in the Workplace.  A meaningful day of learning and planning helped all SJCSD personnel prepare for the return of students on January 5 and a great start to the third quarter.  The next teacher planning/non-Instructional in-service Day will be held on Monday, March 20.

Job Fairs

The district will be hosting four different Job Fairs in the coming months. The SJCSD is looking for men and women to join the ranks of Florida’s #1 public school district. Job Fairs will be held throughout the spring and summer on the following dates:

Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Location: St. Augustine High School
Time:  TBD

Invitational Teacher Recruitment Fair (By invitation only)
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time:  TBD

Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time: TBD

Non-Instructional Job Fair
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time:  TBD

Associate Teacher Expo
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Location: First Coast Technical College
Time:  TBD

Mark your calendars and plan on attending. If you know of any teachers or non-instructional personnel who will be moving into our area in the near future, we encourage you to pass along this information. Registration information will be available on our school district’s website at as we get closer to each Job Fair date.  All attendees are strongly encouraged to complete an online application prior to attending a fair. Please visit the SJCSD recruitment website listed above for more information.

On the Horizon


District Spelling Bee

The District Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, January 18 at 9 a.m. at First Coast Technical College (FCTC), CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center, located at 2980 Collins Ave., St. Augustine.

High School Showcase

The High School Showcase is Thursday, January 19 at the World Golf Village Convention Center from 3:30-7 p.m.  The showcase will exhibit all programs of choice the district has to offer.  Seventh- through 10thgrade students and their parents will have the opportunity to speak with school representatives, business partners and obtain information on programs of choice in order to make better decisions about their academic choices and future career opportunities.

Teacher of the Year Celebration

The annual Teacher of the Year Celebration is designed to honor outstanding teachers who play a thoughtful, caring, and influential role in the lives of students. This year’s theme is “All Star Teachers.” The sports-themed celebration will be held on Monday, January 23 from 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance® World Golf Village Resort. The cost is $45 per guest and includes dinner and awards. Register or sponsor via the website at

Science Fair

The Regional Science Fair is Wednesday, February 1 at FCTC, CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center, located at 2980 Collins Ave., St. Augustine. Exhibit Hall viewing will be February 1, 2017. Parents are welcome to view projects/take pictures between 8:15-8:45 a.m. prior to the start of judging.  Project pick up is February 1, 2:30-4:30 p.m. or after awards on February 2. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, February 2, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. All events will be held at FCTC.

CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk

The fifth annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars 6K/3K Run Walk is on Saturday, February 4 at 9 a.m. at Palencia Elementary School, 355 Palencia Village Dr. Register online at Register by January 14 to guarantee a run t-shirt.

Status Report


New Community Education Classes Starting

The St. Johns County School District invites you to join us in another exciting session of Community Education adult evening courses that are available at five different school sites. You can enroll in courses in Microsoft Office and Excel, retirement planning, memory improvement, sewing, photography, art, Spanish and French languages, guitar, banjo, song writing, bluegrass string band, yoga, belly dance, and improvisational theatre. To register or for information on course prices, dates, and locations visit our website at  or call 547-7565.  Courses are starting soon, so don’t delay; sign up today.

Did You Know…?

  • The 37th Matanzas 5000 5K and Fun Run is January 21. Proceeds from this event go to support cross country teams at St. Johns County high schools and middle schools. The Matanzas 5000 has raised over $100,000 for running programs in St. Johns County schools! Early registration for $25 through January 1st. New this year – a long sleeve tech shirt for first 1,200 registered. For race entry, Race Expo and sponsorship information, please visit or on Facebook at

“In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.”

~Stephen Covey