The school year is well underway for Volusia County Schools. Our teachers, students, and administrators are settled into the school year and are working harder than ever to ensure success – a true indication being “All-In!” We could have not asked for a better start to the school year and have a few highlights to share.

      On August 13, the new, state-of-the-art Pierson Elementary School was officially opened. The school is everything the Pierson community was looking for, and we are excited to see families enjoy this beautiful campus for many years to come. We know a lot of hard work went into it and we appreciate everyone who helped make this school a reality.

      The new school year welcomed four brand new principals to the helm – Chester Boles at DeLand Middle, Joy Boyd-Walker at Freedom Elementary, Kathleen Gibbons at Taylor Middle-High, and Shannon Hay at Ormond Beach Elementary. These four outstanding leaders are highly dedicated to the students’ success, and we look forward to seeing how they effectively lead their school communities.

      As the school year began, so did our newly-formed partnership with AdventHealth (formerly Florida Hospital). This partnership is broad and truly unprecedented. The partnership provides internships for our high school students, addresses attendance, provides care for our students, as well as protection for our athletes in regard to concussions and additional support for our athletic trainers.  One of the first things we will see out of this partnership is concussion protocols, which will provide a baseline for our athletes. We have not even begun to scratch the surface with the benefits of this partnership, and we look forward to seeing the impact it makes in our schools and for our students.

      We recently held Open House for all elementary, middle and high schools earlier this month. This is always an exciting time for students and parents to meet the teacher, learn more about what the students are doing in class, and become more familiar with the school and its processes.

      Looking forward, as we approach the end of September and head into October, we have some exciting things happening in Volusia County. Our Teacher of the Year Nominees have been announced and will be recognized for the first time at a reception in October, the perfect way to start the celebration of these outstanding educators. Each nominee is selected by his or her peers and is invited to the Teacher of the Year banquet in January, where we name the Volusia County Schools Teacher of the Year.

      We will continue to keep the momentum going and cannot wait to see what the 2018-19 school year has in store for Volusia County.


James T. Russell, Superintendent

James T. Russell, Superintendent of Volusia Schools