Happy New Year, and welcome back! I hope this letter finds you refreshed and rejuvenated after a wonderful winter break filled with joy and quality time with loved ones. The second semester promises our students new beginnings, fresh opportunities and continued academic growth. I sincerely hope that the break provided the necessary rest and relaxation for our students to return with renewed energy and enthusiasm for learning.

This semester, we are fostering an environment that encourages and supports academic excellence. Our focus remains on providing the tools, resources and guidance needed to help your children succeed. Whether they are in elementary, middle or high school, we are committed to tailoring our educational approach to meet the unique needs of every student.

Our annual High School Programs of Interest Showcase held last month at the World Golf Village Convention Center gave our middle school parents and students information about their high school careers. Programs of choice nurture passions, career aspirations and advanced academic needs.

Congratulations to Tiffany Cantwell, principal of Ocean Palms Elementary School, for receiving the SJCSD Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and Holli Winter, assistant principal at Fruit Cove Middle School, for receiving the Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award.

Ms. Cantwell has implemented innovative teaching methodologies to foster a positive and inclusive school culture. She has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to excellence. Ms. Cantwell possesses a rare blend of visionary leadership, effective communication and a deep understanding of the needs of both students and faculty. She is an exceptional role model and mentor to her peers. Her attention to detail is one of her main attributes. She enthusiastically connects with parents, teachers, students and the community daily. Ms. Cantwell channels a positivity that is infectious throughout her school, and her visionary approach to educational leadership is evident in the numerous initiatives and improvements that have taken place under her guidance.

An extremely knowledgeable and collaborative educator, Ms. Winter brings a unique combination of vision, passion and commitment, contributing significantly to the students’ and staff’s overall success and well-being. On any given day, you will find her actively engaging with students, parents and faculty, creating open lines of communication and building positive relationships that contribute to the overall success of her school. Ms. Winter supports a school culture that encourages student leadership. The joy she brings to school daily is unmatched, and her compassion has no bounds. Students regularly seek her guidance and input in academics and life.

Congratulations to both of these exceptional leaders. Their applications will be forwarded to the Florida Department of Education for consideration at the state level.

Remember to register for our annual CHARACTER COUNTS! 6 Pillars 6K/3K Run/Walk! This family fun community event is Saturday, February 3, at 9 a.m., beginning and ending at Palencia Elementary School. Online registration is available here. 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 are awarded in each age category, as well as the overall male and female finishers.

Our dedicated educators are ready to guide and inspire, and together, we can make this semester a resounding success for our students. Thank you for entrusting us with your children’s education. Here’s to a semester filled with achievements, growth and the love of learning!

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools