The CHARACTER COUNTS! pillar of the month for February is caring. Throughout the district I witness acts of caring and kindness on a daily basis from teachers, students, support staff, administrators, volunteers and parents. We currently have 548 homeless and unaccompanied youth identified through our ASSIST program. The outpouring of care and support for these students is amazing and comes packaged in both the largest and smallest of gestures. I recently read this quote from Actress Lily Tomlin, “I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” We are all somebody who can make a difference and show care to those we know and those we don’t. We are so blessed to be in a school district and community that cares so much for others.

As we enjoy the cooler weather and settle in for the remainder of the year, we must take the time to ensure that we are also caring for ourselves. The supports we have in place throughout our community to provide medical and mental health care are expanding at a rapid pace. As an educator, ensuring that the whole child is cared for is paramount to me. Your children are our future and we must care for them to realize their greatest potential.

Those on the very front lines of educating and supporting our students are our teachers and we recently had the pleasure of celebrating our finalists for the St. Johns County Teacher of the Year with INK staff and its board members and sponsors, as well as school board members and district staff. This year’s finalists are Julie Durden, teacher of American Sign Language at Palm Valley Academy; Aletha Dresback, teacher of sixth and seventh grade social studies at Valley Ridge Academy; Julie Haden, first grade teacher at Freedom Crossing Academy; Lori Price, first grade teacher at The Webster School; and Evan Tisdale, teacher of middle school special needs students at the Transition School.

Based on the caliber of the finalists, the judges have a very daunting task on their hands to choose just one to represent our county at the annual Teacher of the Year banquet on January 31. I am very appreciative of the INK staff and board for their tireless efforts to produce the Teacher of the Year banquet each year. The They spend countless hours securing sponsors, planning and bringing this special night to life.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue and it provides you with useful information and articles. I end this month’s letter with the fact that I am infinitely proud to be part of your children’s journey to be the somebody only they can be.



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