When the calendar flips to November, it’s only natural to start thinking about Thanksgiving and all the things we are thankful for. This is true for me, too. It’s a great time to reflect on personal and professional moments that have occurred over the previous year.

I am thankful for our School Board members’ service.  I will be forever grateful to them for their support and challenges during my first two years serving as your Superintendent. We worked hand-in-hand during some of the most difficult times in public education. I thank them for their counsel and their trust in supporting difficult decisions that have kept our students successful. And while it is always difficult to see people move from their positions, it is also exciting to see new faces come on board. I wish Mr. Tucker, Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Woolbright only the best in their future endeavors. As I write this, we are preparing to welcome Christy Chong and Sally Hunt to the School Board and await either Will Furry or Courtney VandeBunte. Flagler Schools is making great strides, and this new School Board will continue to help us Elevate Excellence.

I am also thankful for all our teachers, faculty, staff and administrators who come to work every day and give the children of Flagler County their very best. I have the opportunity to visit all our campuses and witness their passion and dedication in the roles that they serve. I also cherish the opportunities I have to speak with our students and observe their achievements. There are so many great things happening in and out of our classrooms. We’re fortunate to have the continued support of the Flagler County Education Foundation. They have begun holding tours of our schools, and I invite everyone in our community to participate in these sessions. Contact Executive Director Teresa Rizzo, and she and her team will be more than happy to help get you signed up for a visit.

I am thankful our county was spared the worst of Hurricane Ian. We have families and employees directly impacted by this storm, and we have worked with them to get them back on their feet. I am especially proud of the teams we had in place at Rymfire Elementary and Bunnell Elementary Schools. They were able to quickly set up and run emergency shelters for those who needed a place to stay during the storm. They were also able to just as quickly clean up and get those campuses ready for students when we were ready to reopen our schools.

Finally, I am thankful for the support Flagler County voters have given Flagler Schools over the past 20 years. In 2002, voters approved the formation of a ½ cent sales surtax to help get a number of innovative programs off the ground, including adding technology and tech support to our campuses. Ten years later, in 2012, voters renewed this surtax, which enabled Flagler Schools to get an electronic device into the hands of every student. It also made it easier for parents to keep track of their student’s progress. We’ve asked voters to, once again, support another 10-year renewal. Again, I am writing this ahead of the November 8 election, but I am confident that voters have seen what this ½ cent has provided and will continue to provide in the years to come.

I encourage our students, teachers, staff and administration to take time this month to reflect on what they are thankful for and share it with those closest to them.

Elevating Excellence,

Cathy Mittelstadt
Superintendent, Flagler Schools