I want to encourage everyone to take a moment this month to discuss and practice The February CHARACTER COUNTS! pillar of caring with your families. May we inspire our students and children to be kind to others, be compassionate and show you care, express gratitude, forgive one another, help people in need and to be charitable and altruistic.

Throughout the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD), I am always encouraged seeing the pillar of caring displayed in so many ways.  A focus this year has been to celebrate the caring work of teachers and administrators who dedicate their time, resources and enthusiasm to inspire good character and a passion for lifelong learning in all students, creating educated and caring contributors to the world.

Congratulations to Allyson Olson, Principal of Patriot Oaks Academy for receiving the 2021-2022 SJCSD Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership. Mrs. Olson is an extraordinary leader who serves over 1,420 students and staff in a community where the population is growing at a rapid pace. It is extremely rare to find her in her office as she is in the halls, classrooms, lunchroom and common areas amongst her students. Mrs. Olson joined the St. Johns County School District in 2015 where she was selected to be the principal at Julington Creek Elementary before becoming the leader of POA (K-8) in 2017. Her calm, decisive manner is one of her main attributes. She exudes professionalism and courtesy in her dealings with parents, teachers, students and the community-at-large.

I would also like to recognize the 2021-2022 Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year, Mr. Trevor Abbs. Mr. Abbs has served as an assistant principal in the St. Johns County School District since 2014, first at Bartram Trail High School and currently at St. Augustine High School. He is an exceptional leader and has held varied positions within the district including that of a coach, which helped to prepare him for his role as an assistant principal.  Mr. Abbs is an extremely hard worker who always puts students first. He is fair and consistent while always focusing on what is in the best interest of the students he serves.

Investing in Kids! (INK!) along with sponsors, school board members and district leadership recently celebrated the Teacher of the Year and Rookie Teacher of the Year for each school. Andrew Burk, middle school music teacher at Valley Ridge Academy was selected as the 2021-2022 SJCSD Teacher of the Year. Mr. Burk is described as an innovative teacher who has found his calling and purpose in life through teaching students the art of music. He provides real world learning opportunities to give his students a deeper understanding of music appreciation, collaboration with his peers, reading music and learning how to play instruments. The 2021-2022 SJCSD Rookie Teacher of the Year is Kaitlyn Holle. Ms. Holle serves as a science teacher at Mill Creek Academy. I am very appreciative of the INK! staff and board members for their tireless efforts to produce the Teacher of the Year celebration each year. They spend countless hours securing sponsors, planning and bringing this special event to life in recognition of our county’s finest teachers.

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools