The February CHARACTER COUNTS! Pillar of the Month is Caring. May we inspire our students and children to be kind and compassionate, express gratitude, forgive one another, help people in need, and practice charity and altruism.

Throughout the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD), I am always encouraged to see caring displayed in many ways. This year has focused on celebrating 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 Bethany Groves, principal of James A. Webster Elementary School (WES), on receiving the 2022-2023 SJCSD Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership. Ms. Groves is an extraordinary leader who serves over 440 students in a Title I school. Under her leadership, WES is a designated Community Partnership School with Children’s Home Society. Community Partnership Schools provide support, services and solutions to help alleviate burdens. As more weight is lifted, students find the balance to focus on learning to reach their full potential. This program brings together high-quality academics, health care, counseling, support, mentoring and more to a place where students and families are partners in children’s education. Ms. Groves manages even the most challenging and sensitive situations gracefully and with compassion. She focuses on implementing outreach programs and community service activities to support parents and students. Bethany is also a district mentor and professional development presenter. She channels a positivity that is infectious throughout her school, and her supportive nature is felt by all those she comes in contact. She truly believes that collaboration and teamwork are essential to being successful. I am honored and humbled to work with someone of such great character who exhibits consistent grace and caring toward others. Congratulations, Ms. Groves.

I would also like to recognize the 2022-2023 Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year, Mr. Drew Chiodo. Mr. Chiodo has served as an assistant principal in the SJCSD since 2015, first at Pacetti Bay Middle School, then Palm Valley Academy, and currently at Tocoi Creek High School. He is an exceptional leader and has held varied positions within the district, including that of a mentor, which helped to prepare him for his role as an assistant principal. He aims to help students develop into productive, self-reliant thinkers and individualized learners while always showing that he cares about each of them. As the Safety and Emergency Operations Plan Coordinator, his peers look upon him as a go-to source for safety planning and facilitating. He also possesses a strong knowledge of a school’s systems and programs and can quickly troubleshoot and remedy problems. Mr. Chiodo supports a school culture that fosters student leadership and regularly participates in activities at the school. The joy he brings to school daily is unmatched, and his compassion has no bounds. Students regularly seek his guidance and input in academics and life. Congratulations to Mr. Chiodo!

I am humbled and grateful to serve as your superintendent. The success of our students and the dedication of our caring teachers and staff empowers me to be my best each day.

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools