Q & A with St. Johns County School Board Member, District 4, Kelly Barrera

Q: Is it too soon to register students new to the area for the next school year?
A: No. If any new students are in the area or are moving to the area, please register as soon as possible. Last minute registration causes stress for school administrators for all that goes with hiring new teachers and also for teachers who arrive late to their classrooms. The first day of school will be Aug. 12, 2019.

Q: How should students be registered?
A: We’ve started an online registration process on our website, www.stjohns.k12.fl.us. We encourage the online registration, but you can also go to your zoned school.

Q: What can you tell us about the Career Academies’ recent business partners recognition program?
A: Our Career Academies are really booming: the number of students who take part, the number of certifications and the number of internships keeps growing. Did you know that 43 percent of all of our St. Johns County high school students participate in a Career Academy/technical education? Last year, 1,627 students earned industry certifications, ranging from AutoCAD to biotechnicians to Microsoft Office. Additionally, 156 students had summer internships at 47 different businesses last year.

The Career Academies’ Business Partners of the Year recognition program was held April 2 at First Coast Technical College, and it included a dinner and awards ceremony. I’d like to recognize Ed Wullner, executive director of the Northeast Florida Regional Airport, who was named the Outstanding Individual Business Partner of the Year; Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, which was named the Outstanding Business Partner of the Year; Matt Clancy, a parent and also of Ultratech, who was named Outstanding Advisory Board Member; and Haskell, which was named Rookie Business Partner of the Year. A special award was also given to Mayo Clinic for its Innovative Intern Program.

Q: What else do you have to share with District 4?
A: On April 11, the Youth Character Counts! awards including the Pursuing Victory with Honor awards was held. This is not just for St. Johns County School District; other area schools attend as well. Honored students talk about which character of the six pillars means the most to them and then chooses a teacher or coach who they feel was influential and embodies the character they chose. Bartram Trail High School alumnus and NFL player Nathan Peterman was the guest speaker.

I’d like to commend honorees Parker Apple, Grayson Eastman, Andrew Gajewski, Anna Hampton, Cecilia Molis, Teagen Pettit, Nicole Scarbrough  Elizabeth Thompson, Ruchi Patel, Erin Sass, Demoi Smith, and Maanasi Vadlamani from Nease High School and also Kyle Bacus, Diana Feier, Jack Garber, Aaryanna Gilmore, Collin Magill, Chase Magnano, Lydia Merete, Madison Paxton, Emily Beson, Mark Calvin, Seth Corley, and Nathan Yant from Ponte Vedra High School. Peyton Carter from Nease and Paige Johnson from Ponte Vedra High School were honored with the Pursuing Victory with Honor award for their school.

Finally, I’d like to recognize and thank all of our awesome volunteers in northeast St. Johns County who give of their time. Special recognition goes to co-first runner up Heather Jett of Nease High School in the Youth category; first runner up Leslie Bohsali of PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School and co-second runner up Kelly Simmers of Ocean Palms Elementary School in the Adult category; and co-second runner up Lana Kirkpatrick of Palencia Elementary School in the Senior category.

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.