Happy New Year and welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your holiday break with family and friends. It is always nice to spend time with those we love, appreciate the joy of the season, and recharge for the second semester. I always look forward to the new year and seeing all our students arriving back at school excited and ready to return to their classrooms.

We recently had the pleasure of recognizing our School-Related Employee of the Year. School-related employees are so important to fulfilling the mission of our district. These employees help to keep our schools and grounds clean, transport our students safely to and from school, feed our students nutritious meals, assist in the classroom, help out in the media centers, take care of administrative details, handle front office duties, update our data, keep our schools safe and monitor and ensure the health and well-being of our students. They perform the many functions that are so critical to the success of our schools and our children.

The judges are faced with the daunting task of choosing just one to be considered for this honor and I appreciate the effort and care they put into this process. Please join me in congratulating the 2019-2020 School-Related Employee of the Year Heather Finch who serves as a 1:1 Paraprofessional at The Transition School.

Along with our School-Related Employee of the Year, we will also be recognizing our teachers at the 39th annual Teacher of the Year celebration Friday, January 31 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 2021.

Following the celebration of our teachers we have the opportunity to support the great character we have in our community with the CHARACTER COUNTS! 6 Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk Saturday, February 1 at 9 a.m. beginning and ending at Palencia Elementary School. Online registration is available at http://www.racesmith.com/races/CHARACTERCOUNTS.html.

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 t-shirt and other goodies from area businesses and organizations. At the finish line, each race participant will receive a commemorative dog tag.

There are several other events occurring in the coming weeks which highlight the accomplishments of our students. The High School Showcase is Thursday, January 9 at the Renaissance at World Golf Village from 3:30-7 p.m., the STEM Fair is Saturday, January 11 at Picolata Crossing Elementary from 8-11 a.m. and the school district’s annual Science Fair is Wednesday, February 5 and Thursday, February 6 at First Coast Technical College (FCTC) CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center.



Tim Forson, Superintendent of Schools, St. Johns County School District