Q: At the date of this interview (May 17) school is winding down. What is happening with District 4 schools?
A: It is a busy time with graduations and senior awards, but it is also the time we thank our volunteers. RSVP of St. Johns County just honored its outstanding volunteers including Ponte Vedra resident Rick Lombardo. He volunteers at Otis Mason Elementary in St. Augustine throughout the year and also works at their summer reading program.

As for the schools, Ocean Palms Elementary is undertaking a huge remodel on its media center to become a STEAM center. The school’s PTO has provided a lot of the funding to buy items like modular and adaptable tables, special couches and a dedicated area for the youngest students which will have fun rugs and manipulatives and be very interactive. This new STEAM lab/media center will be open in time for next school year.

Landrum is also doing some remodeling — science classrooms are being renovated to include some new science labs. Also at Landrum, I’d like to highlight that the school welcomed one of its largest classes of seventh graders into the National Junior Honor Society: 105 students.

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Q: Are there any students you’d like to highlight?
A: Nease had a student, junior Lizzi Stevens, recognized by U.S. Rep. John Rutherford. She won Best in Show at the Ponte Vedra Public Education Foundation’s (PVPEF) recent art show and her artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

Thirty students from Palm Valley Academy formed 12 teams and recently attended the Computer Science Competition at the University of North Florida. They showcased their recent code.org work.

Finally, several District 4 students were recognized with Crimestoppers Awards at the last school board meeting: Yanelisse Rivie from PVPV/Rawlings, Taylor Foote from Palm Valley Academy and Daniel May and AnnMarie Williams from Nease. These awards are the result of a partnership between the State Attorney’s Office, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Johns County School District to raise awareness and ensure the safety of all students in secure learning environments.

Q: What are the teachers doing when school is out?
A: Many of our teachers are starting professional development in the month of June. So many of them do this on their own time and often at their own expense. They are already preparing for the next school year.

I’d also like to highlight Tricia Ingle, a second grade teacher at Valley Ridge Academy, who was recently recognized with the Investing in Kids (INK!) Make Your Mark award.

I think it’s so fun to celebrate our kids’ and teachers’ gifts and talents.

Q: How can our readers contact you?

A: They can email me at kelly.barrera@stjohns.k12.fl.us or call me at (904) 547-7510.


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