Bethany Groves
Bethany Groves

The St. Johns County School District is proud to announce that Bethany Groves, principal of James A. Webster Elementary School (WES), recently received the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership.

Congratulations to Drew Chiodo, assistant principal at Tocoi Creek High School, for receiving the SJCSD Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award.

Ms. Groves is an extraordinary leader who serves over 440 students and staff in a Title I school.

She is constantly in the halls, classrooms, lunchroom and common areas among her students and staff. Ms. Groves joined the SJCSD as a teacher at Julington Creek Elementary School before becoming an assistant principal at John A. Crookshank Elementary, Hickory Creek Elementary and R.J. Murray Middle schools. She served as principal at Hickory Creek Elementary School and has been the principal at WES for the last six years. She has implemented intensive intervention systems there to improve the school grade from a D to a B. An outstanding accomplishment during the challenges associated with the pandemic.

Under Ms. Groves’ leadership, WES was designated as a Community Partnership School in conjunction with Children’s Home Society. Through this program, families raising children with behavioral or emotional difficulties, mental health diagnoses or destructive behaviors receive professional support to navigate local systems and resources. These services provide care and stability for families.

Her attention to detail is one of her main attributes. She enthusiastically connects with parents, teachers, students and the community daily. 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.

Ms. Groves is an exceptional role model and mentor to her peers. She 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. Walking into her school on any given day, you see a leader who is an advocate and cheerleader for all staff members and students. She truly believes that collaboration and teamwork are essential to being successful. Congratulations, Ms. Groves!

Drew Chiodo
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.

An extremely hard worker who always puts students first, Mr. Chiodo is fair and consistent while always focusing on the best interest of the students he serves. He helps 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 consider him a go-to source for safety planning and facilitating. He also has a strong knowledge of a school’s systems and programs and can quickly troubleshoot problems. He is not an individual who solely comes with a problem but is solution-focused in every task he undertakes.

Mr. Chiodo supports a school culture that fosters student leadership and regularly participates in activities at the school. The joy he brings to his school daily is unmatched, and his compassion has no bounds. As a result, students regularly seek his guidance and input in academics and life.

These awards recognize exemplary principals and assistant principals for their contributions to their schools and communities. Additionally, the program honors administrators who utilize teamwork and leadership skills to increase student performance, promote safe learning environments and establish partnerships with parents and community members.

Both these amazing educators’ applications have been forwarded to the Florida Department of Education to compete at the state level.