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.