Currently browsing

March 2014

New Principal Appointment for R.B. Hunt Elementary School

Amanda Garman, assistant principal at R.B. Hunt Elementary School (RBHES), has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of RBHES. Garman will replace Principal Don Steele who has announced his retirement effective April 30 of this year. Her nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at its April 8 meeting.

“Ms. Garman is an experienced assistant principal who has all the skills necessary to take R.B. Hunt to the next level of excellence,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “She is very familiar with the community and is an excellent match for the school.”

Garman has more than 22 years of experience in the St. Johns County School District and has served as the assistant principal at RBHES since 2007. Prior to this appointment she was an assistant principal at Pedro Menendez High School, Gamble Rogers Middle School and Allen D. Nease High School (NHS). She has also been a teacher at Switzerland Point Middle School, St. Augustine Technical Center and NHS.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to serve the R.B. Hunt community as principal,” said Garman. “This is truly a dream come true. R.B. Hunt is like a family to me and it is so wonderful to work with the children, parents and staff. I am excited about the next step in my career and look forward to continuing to build on Hunt’s tradition of success.”

Garman earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree from the University of North Florida.

School-Related Employees of the Year

The 2013-2014 School-Related Employees of the Year have been selected from each of the district’s 34 schools, along with six 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 Tuesday, April 15 at 6 p.m. at First Coast Technical College. The St. Johns County nominee’s name will then be submitted to the state to compete at the regional level.

A list of the 2013-2014 School-Related Employees of the Year is below.

Jill Bullard Academic Services Department
Michael Ciruzzi Bartram Trail High School
Susan Wyatt Creekside High School
David Turlington John A. Crookshank Elementary School
Angela Bellaw Cunningham Creek Elementary School
Danielle Cook Community Relations Department
Janise “Jan” Phillips Durbin Creek Elementary School
Charles Veitinger First Coast Technical College
Francis “Fab” Durnin Fruit Cove Middle School
Andres Vega-Victoria Gaines Alternative and Transition Schools
William Vaughn W. D. Hartley Elementary School
Donna “Kay” Moser Hickory Creek Elementary School
Denise Liedtke Human Resources Department
Waynette Abbatinozzi R. B. Hunt Elementary School
Adrian Stasky Information Technology Department
Lisa North Julington Creek Elementary School
Michelle Moore Ketterlinus Elementary School
Diane Melnyk Alice B. Landrum Middle School
Wynton Hardy Liberty Pines Academy
Sylvia Gumble Otis A. Mason Elementary School
Teresa Cleary Pedro Menendez High School
Sandra Pearson Mill Creek Elementary School
Ida Green Wright R. J. Murray Middle School
Beth Newell Allen D. Nease High School
Jeanne Bischoff Ocean Palms Elementary School
Megan Oxborough Osceola Elementary School
Jack Blocker Pacetti Bay Middle School
Marly Picard Palencia Elementary School
Nicole Jutte Ponte Vedra High School
Connie Smith PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School
Kendell Hardwick Gamble Rogers Middle School
Raymond Almonte St. Augustine High School
Shirley Smith St. Johns Technical High School
Christine Solana Sebastian Middle School
Ellie Pierce South Woods Elementary School
Yvonne Ross Student Services Department
Nereida DiDeo Switzerland Point Middle School
Constance Woida Timberlin Creek Elementary School
Linda Hickey Transportation Department
William Britton Wards Creek Elementary School
Tammy Witt The Webster School

Naming of New K-8 Schools

The St. Johns County School Board approved the name Patriot Oaks Academy for the school previously known as K-8 “HH” at its School Board meeting held today. Patriot Oaks Academy is located at 475 Longleaf Pine Parkway in St. Johns and the principal is Emily Harrison.

The School Board also approved the name Valley Ridge Academy for the school previously known as K-8 “II.” Valley Ridge Academy is located at 105 Greenleaf Drive in Ponte Vedra and the principal is Wayne King.

Over the last several months both principals collected input from their communities and worked with their respective Principal Advisory Committees before providing suggested names to school board members for consideration.

Patriot Oaks Academy and Valley Ridge Academy will open for the 2014-2015 school year. Both schools will accommodate approximately 1,000 students and classroom areas can include groupings of multi-age students using teaching teams as well as more traditional same-grade groupings. Movable walls opening between classroom pairs will enhance cooperative learning while common areas will allow for flexible uses in this updated “house” design concept. This design will enable teachers and paraprofessionals to work cooperatively to facilitate learning for students through a variety of activities. These schools will also include state-of-the-art technology and are being built to Green Building Standards.

For more information on Patriot Oaks Academy, visit and for Valley Ridge Academy, visit

History Fair Winners

Elizabeth Fox and Harrison Snowden of Landrum Middle School won top honors in the second annual St. Johns County School District’s History Fair. Their project, entitled Axe Handle Saturday, was awarded the Overall Most Outstanding Project and they will each receive a check for $75 from the St. Augustine Historical Society.

There were 76 history projects represented by 143 participants in the SJCSD History Fair competition. The overall winner will be recognized at the School Board Meeting on Tuesday, April 8.

Participating schools included Liberty Pines Academy (LPA), Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS), Landrum Middle School (LMS), Pacetti Bay Middle School (PBMS), Sebastian Middle School (SMS), Switzerland Point Middle School (SPMS), Bartram Trail High School (BTHS), Creekside High School (CHS) and Nease High School (NHS).

The SJCSD History Fair projects were on display at BTHS which also hosted the awards ceremony on Wednesday, March 5. The history fair was a culmination of the efforts of the SJCSD and teacher sponsors including Teresa McCormick, FCMS; Kelly Vaughn, LMS; Dorothy Anagnostou and Keith Tilford, SPMS; Hannah Hollis and Stephanie Gionet, PBMS; Debbie Hagenbuch-Reese, Teri Lydigsen, Robert Dunn and Christine Granovski, SMS; Kristin Latshaw, Alexandra Martin, and Ryan Bozeman, LPA; Melissa O’Steen, NHS; Jacob Teuscher, BTHS; Joseph Herskovitz, CHS. Travis Brown, SJCSD secondary social studies program specialist, coordinated the history fair.

The History Fair received outstanding support from the St. Johns County Historical Community. The judges for the fair represented organizations including the St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Florida Historical Society, University of Florida, St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, Ft. Mose Historic State Park, William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway, Castillo de San Marcos, Colonial Dames of St. Augustine, Old Florida Museum, and The Colonial Quarter. Prize money was generously provided from the following supporters: St. Augustine Historical Society, Smoothie King, The Report Card, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, The Colonial Quarter, The World Golf Hall of Fame, RPM Automotive, Brockington and Associates, Fort Menendez at the Old Florida Museum, Jax Vision Care, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation.

The category winners are listed below.


Junior Division
1st Place- Caroline Balcita, LPA
2nd Place- Alice Gau, FCMS
3rd Place- Kendall Southworth, LPA

Senior Individual Division
1st Place-Ryan Berry, NHS
2nd Place- Sabrina Borrego, NHS
3rd Place- Michael Mathis, CHS

Senior Group Division
1st Place-Kathryn McGlynn and Jasmine Kernick, CHS
2nd Place- Alexa Candeletti and Sarah Fiori, NHS


Junior Individual Division
1st Place-Zuri Goodman, LMS

Junior Group Division
1st Place-Nandini Tandon, Taylor Iler, and Lauren Banta, LPA


Junior Division
1st Place-Sammy Schoenherr, LPA
2nd Place-Gayatri Ramesh, FCMS
3rd Place- Aidan Mather, SPMS

Senior Division
1st Place-Amanda Rorabaugh, BTHS
2nd Place-Erika Willis, CHS


Junior Division
1st Place-Camille Aguilar and Sanya Bansal, SPMS
2nd Place-Paige Hunt and Abigail Cebulko, LPA
3rd Place-Lauren Donalson and Anna Grace Shell, SPMS

Senior Division
1st Place-Caleb Sapp, Logan Small and Ryan Stellhorn, BTHS
2nd Place-Alec Mott, Joshua Johnson and Blake Ashe, CHS
3rd Place-Marissa Wright, Stephaney Wilson, Jamie Montgomery, and Shilo Burres, NHS


Junior Group Division
1st Place-Kaylie Headings and Zachary Graves, FCMS
2nd Place-Noah Law and Noah Budkoski, SMS

Junior Individual Division
1st Place-Jake Smith, LPA
2nd Place-David Watt, LPA
3rd Place-Allie Griggs, SMS


Junior Division
1st Place-Hadley Browder, FCMS
2nd Place- Paxton Threatt, FCMS
3rd Place- Abbey Ellis, FCMS


Junior Division
1st Place- Elizabeth Fox and Harrison Snowden, LMS
2nd Place- Jack Veatch and Karim Brown, SMS
3rd Place-Shelby Wright, Abigail Pelger, Sophie Aronovici, and Meghan Oliveira, FCMS

Senior Division
1st Place-Alaina Constantine, Caleb Daly, Isabelle Cutaia, Julia Frakaloss, Kaitlyn Kamerzel, CHS
2nd Place- Evan Harms and James Lee, CHS
3rd Place-Valeria Gonzalez and Rachel White, CHS

In addition to the winners above, several special awards were presented and are listed below.

Scientific Awareness-provided by Smoothie King Mya Horn-SMS

Local History-provided by The Report Card Nina Alpert, PBMS

Ancient History-provided by Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Emilie Shaver and Jami Jensen, NHS

St. Augustine History-provided by The Colonial Quarter Kaylie Headings and Zachary Graves, FCMS

Sports Awareness-provided by The World Golf Hall of Fame Sydney Wissinger, FCMS

Exhibit Engineering-provided by RPM Automotive Anamika Goswami and Joshua Veracruz, SPMS

Visual Achievement-provided by Brockington and Associates Hannah Savoldy and Delaney Willingham, FCMS

Collaborative Effort-provided by Fort Menendez at the Old Florida Museum Jacob Justice, Samantha Albrecht, Sophia Moulas, Daniel Page and Caleb Farrell, SMS

Research of Historic Figures-provided by JAX Vision Care Taylor Thomson, LPA

Most Visually Appealing-provided by JAX Vision Care Michael Manherz, LPA

Exhibit Creation-provided by Chipotle Mexican Grill Abbey Ellis, FCMS

Historical Significance-provided by St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation Miya Reed, SMS

Twenty students from the nine participating schools were selected to compete in the State History Fair scheduled for May 4-6 in Tallahassee. History Fair Director Travis Brown is coordinating the trip. The participants are Zuri Goodman, LMS; Sammy Schoenherr, LPA; Hadley Browder, FCMS; Amanda Rorabaugh, BTHS; Camille Aguilar and Sanya Bansal, SPMS; Kaylie Headings and Zachary Graves, FCMS; Elizabeth Fox and Harrison Snowden, LMS; Gayatri Ramesh, FCMS; Alaina Constantine, Caleb Daly, Isabelle Cutaia, Julia Frakaloss and Kaitlyn Kamerzel, CHS; Jack Veatch and Karim Brown, SMS; Caroline Balcita, LPA; and Paxton Threatt, FCMS.

The SJCSD History Fair is run 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.

New Program for Technology Careers

A new career education program rolling out in St. Johns County schools tomorrow aims to inspire more students, especially girls, to consider careers in the lucrative field of technology. The program was created by Citibank in partnership with the St. Johns County School District and is being delivered to students at all of the district’s high schools and middle schools.

“This is a great opportunity to highlight IT and the many different careers our female students can pursue in this field,” said Paula Chaon, director for Career Education.

Pedro Menendez High School will host the presentation at 2 p.m. on March 7. More than 300 students will be in the audience and media is invited to attend.

The “Women in IT” program was inspired by organizations such as Girls Who Code and She++, and launched in response to a few troubling statistics:

  • Since 1984, the percentage of female computer science graduates has dropped from 37 percent to 12 percent. (Girls Who Code)
  • In middle school, 74 percent of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3 percent of high school girls select computer science. (Girls Who Code)
  • Between 2000 and 2009, there was a 79 percent drop in the number of first-year undergraduate women considering computer science. (She++)

Additionally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 the IT sector will add nearly 1.4 million job openings, but compared to a projection of only 400,000 computer science students, more than two-thirds of those jobs could go unfilled. These numbers highlight the talent gap and immense opportunity ahead of our nation’s students — particularly females.

The sessions are 90 minutes in length for middle school students and 45 minutes for high school students, consisting of a presentation, videos and games. Topics include facts about women in IT, the types of roles that are available, inspirational personal stories and information about the lifestyle benefits that an IT career can provide. Employees from Citi’s Global Consumer Technology office in Jacksonville will be conducting the sessions.

Participants are also asked to complete web-based assessments before and during the course to help identify activities that interest them. The course then relates those skills and interests to careers like project management, computer programming and graphic design, among others. Each role description also includes background on the average salaries and typical educational requirements.

Planning and Zoning Agency Appointment

The St. Johns County School District is seeking applicants interested in serving on the St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency (PZA).

Florida growth management legislation requires all counties to have a School Board appointment as a non-voting member to participate in discussions on rezoning amendments to the land use plan that impact density. The St. Johns County Commission has agreed to go beyond the legislative requirements to make the School Board appointment a full voting member of the PZA.

Applicant must be a resident of St. Johns County. Selection will be based on a number of factors including the applicant’s involvement in the county and in public education. Deadline for applications is noon on March 31.

Each applicant will need to attend the workshop with the School Board on Tuesday, May 6 at 8:30 am. The School Board plans to make its appointment at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 13 at 9 am.

Applications may be obtained on the School District Website at under “What’s New” or by calling Marcia Holmes, executive secretary for Facilities Planning & Growth Management, at 547-7680 or in person at the School Board Administration building at 47 Orange Street, St. Augustine.