STAR Recognition

STAR Recognition

At the April 8th School Board Meeting, James McKenzie, Executive Director of the St. Lucie County Education Foundation was presented the S.T.A.R. Award for his help with the Music In Our Schools Month. He has been a strong supporter of St. Lucie County Public Schools. Congratulations Jim! Pictured are, Director of Student Assignment Michelle Jerger, School Board Chairman Debbie Hawley, Executive Director of the SLC Education Foundation James McKenzie, and Superintendent Genelle Yost.

STAR Recognitions

STAR Recognitions

St. Lucie Public Schools honored two individuals from the Transportation team at the December School Board Meeting.

Venetia Brice and Giovanni Calzolano were nominated for STAR Award recognition based on their commitment to keeping children safe and going above and beyond to provide stellar service.


Education’s Shining Stars Announced

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — In a live broadcast on Saturday, February 20, 2016, from Lincoln Park Academy, St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) and the Education Foundation of St. Lucie County announced this year’s line-up of educational superstars. Mr. Jeffrey Johnson, Sr. took top honors as St. Lucie County’s Teacher of the Year. Mr. Johnson is a champion of students at Dale Cassens Educational Complex where he supports students in the areas of science and mathematics. Joining him on the stage during the Night of the Stars gala were School Related Employee of the Year Mr. Charles Pilson from Manatee Academy, Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year Mr. Eddie L. Robinson from Manatee Academy, and Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year Mr. Mike DellaFave from Weatherbee Elementary.

Teacher of the Year Johnson attributed his accomplishments as an educator to the inspiration he receives from his students’ successes. “I believe that all children are capable of success. Every child has a purpose, and every adult has a responsibility,” said Johnson. In an evening filled with accolades for the outstanding service that this year’s school representatives provide to the students in SLPS, Superintendent E. Wayne Gent said, “These outstanding ladies and gentlemen epitomize excellence in teaching and distinction in providing professional support for the teaching and learning environment in SLPS. They represent what the District stands for in quality education for each child every day.” He added, “It is through the relentless efforts of our instructional and support team members that we are making a difference in the lives of children. The dedicated individuals who crossed the stage this evening lead the way in the points of pride we have for SLPS.”

Executive Director of the Education Foundation, Mr. Thom Jones could not agree more. “Honoring our teachers and support staff for the work they do each day for our students is the highlight of my year. Central to The Education Foundation’s mission is to recognize excellence in education and support teacher development.” Jones was also emphatic in pointing out the fact that the corporate sponsors such as the event’s grand benefactor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are just as focused on the mission. The Morganti Group, Inc. sponsors the Teacher of the Year and Herff Jones honors the winner with a commemorative ring. The Education Foundation sponsors the School Related Employee of the Year, Keiser University sponsors the Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year, and Seacoast Bank sponsors The Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year. Jones offered a special thank you to the many other event sponsors.

Event Coordinator Candace Stone said, “SLPS is proud of its educators and staff. We believe that all our distinguished honorees not only embody this mission of the District, but go beyond. Their accomplishments, both in school and in the community, reaffirms this belief.”

St. Lucie County’s Teacher of the Year and School Related Employee of the Year will now move on to the state level competition. In the category of Teacher of the Year, the State has a long-standing tradition that recognizes and honors the contributions of outstanding classroom teachers who have demonstrated a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities. The state finalist for The Florida Teacher of the Year also serves as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education and represents the Florida Department of Education and teachers throughout the state.

About the Teacher of the Year

Jeffrey Johnson, Sr.

Mr. Jeffrey Johnson, Sr. provides structure, academic regimes, and a focused climate on achievement for his middle school students transitioning to high school at Dale Cassens Education Complex.  He supports his students’ studies in grade level mathematics and science as well as the facilitation of course recovery to support students in meeting their on-time graduation goals.

Mr. Johnson also appreciates the value of including a strong support network for his students, which is why he is passionate about including parents, coaches, pastors, and after-school organizations in the lives of his students. He endeavors to build strong bridges to solidify the home-to-school continuum for he believes that the cohesion of students, parents, community, and teachers maximize his students’ learning, provides his students with a greater sense of belonging, and inspires a subsequent desire in his students to participate in the lifelong learning process. He promotes a classroom culture that is dynamic, safe, and open for the sharing of thoughts and ideas.

About the School-Related Employee of the Year

Charles Pilson

Mr. Charles Pilson is the School Related Employee of the Year for Manatee Academy.  For the past four years, Pilson has served as the school’s Behavior Intervention Classroom Monitor. He is very aware of the challenges many students face each day and he supports and encourages their success in the classroom and in the educational environment.  He always lends an ear and a supportive word to those students who seek his counsel.

His normal work day ends and his dedication hours begin.  He serves as the school’s track coach, business partner liaison, and advisor to the Student Council and Honor Society.  Pilson works with the Guardian Ad Litem program as well.  He is a humanitarian who seeks the good in each and every student every day.

About the Distinguished Minority Educator of the Year

Eddie L. Robinson

As a ten-year veteran educator, Mr. Eddie L. Robinson currently serves as an Elementary Counselor of Conduct at Manatee Academy. He believes that every child has the ability to learn and that every child needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature in their learning. He aspires to help students meet their fullest potential and continually works to help them develop and realize their uniqueness.

In his work on campus and in the community, Robinson is a steadfast advocate for youth. He volunteers his time as a youth leader, tutor, and mentor. He is positive in his demeanor, honorable in his work ethic, and counsels others to do the same.

About the Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year

Mike DellaFave

Mr. Mike DellaFave is a third grade teacher at Weatherbee Elementary School. His administrator and peers commend this positive role model on his dedication and enthusiasm for fostering a positive learning environment for his students. DellaFave’s classroom is a place where students are nurtured, motivated, and filled with wonder and encouraged to explore the world. He embraces the site-based and District initiatives and eagerly participates in talent development opportunities.

Aside from his contributions in the classroom, DellaFave is actively involved in committees and events on campus including the school’s positive behavior events. In the community, this stellar educator’s volunteer spirit shines through various outreach programs.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit,  or contact Kerry Padrick at



STARS Honored

STARS Honored

The STAR program’s focus is to recognize employees for their conduct, skills and actions that correlate with the District’s vision and acknowledge those who exemplify its core values. During May’s School Board Meeting, four individuals were recognized for their STAR qualities.

Wanda Bird (Miss Rosie) – Bus Driver, Transportation Department


Denise Coyle – Bus Driver, Transportation Department


Beth Payne – Teacher, Morningside Elementary School

Margot Williams – Teacher, Village Green Environmental Studies School

Click on this link to view the Board Meeting and watch the recognitions.


Start Your Journey to Becoming a Teacher

Start Your Journey to Becoming a Teacher

Teachers make a difference in the lives of children and teens, helping to shape them into productive adults. Indian River State College (IRSC) offers many opportunities for community members to become teachers, especially in the high-demand fields of math, science, ESE and bilingual education. Join us for free information sessions March 26 and April 3 to learn more about programs, degrees and certifications in the field of education.

The School of Education features Associate Degree and Bachelor’s Degree programs in early childhood, elementary, secondary and physical education with special emphasis on reading, mathematics, science, exceptional student education (ESE) and English to speakers of other languages (ESOL). Certifications are also available in preschool and child care management.

Those interested in learning more about the School of Education should plan to attend a free information session on Tuesday, March 26, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Tomeu Center, Room C-310, on the IRSC Main Campus at 3209 Virginia Avenue in Fort Pierce. For more information, contact Emily Renschler at or 772-462-7142.

IRSC also houses the Education Preparation Institute (EPI), which provides a fast track to a teacher career for anyone who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in a field other than education. The program can be completed in less than a year with convenient day, evening and online classes. Certifications are available in all subject disciplines with a special emphasis on math, science and ESE.

The EPI will host a free information session on Wednesday, April 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Tomeu Center, Room C-207 on the IRSC Main Campus at 3209 Virginia Avenue in Fort Pierce. For more information, contact Joey Lord at or 772-462-7134.

Registration for these information sessions is requested in advance at For additional information about programs in education, visit or call 1-866-792-4772.

Photo:  IRSC graduate Nikki Hart thrives as a fifth grade science teacher at Chester A. Moore Elementary in Fort Pierce.

State Award for Outstanding School Volunteer

State Award for Outstanding School Volunteer

At the board meeting on March 10, 2015, Maryann Umile was presented the Outstanding School Volunteer Award for 2014-15 for the State of Florida Region III. Maryann Umile has volunteered over the past 15 years at Bayshore Elementary School with over 15,000 hours. Mrs. Umile volunteers with Mrs. Hawkins’ kindergarten class and helps the other kindergarten teachers as well. She represents all that a volunteer should be and has made a positive impact on students, staff members and the community. Her patience, dependability and dedication are evident in the 15,843 hours that she has willingly given to the students of Bayshore Elementary.

Mrs. Umile is also an active community member and volunteers many hours as a trustee at the Sons of Italy Lodge to benefit local charities and families. Every year she helps to collect and organize food baskets that are donated to families in need at Bayshore Elementary and throughout the community. Congratulations Mrs. Maryann Umile, our District and State Senior Volunteer of the Year!

Pictured are, Dr. Donna Mills, Maryann Umile, and Genelle Yost.

State Board Approves Emergency Rule

State Board of Education members voted in support of Commissioner Tony Bennett’s emergency rule to provide a “safety net” that schools’ grades would not drop more than one letter grade for FY13, continuing the same provision for FY12.  It also changes the premise by which districts may have originally decided that ESE center students’ grades would be counted against the regular school to which the student would be assigned or against the center school.  (St. Lucie County’s only ESE Center to be impacted is Positive Expectations Academy).

Several State Board members acknowledged the fact that the current grading system has been frequently changed to the point it has become over complicated and the “A-F” model may not be as relevant now as when it was first passed in 1999.  Commissioner Bennett has committed to the development of a comprehensive 3-year plan to support the transition and implementation of Common Core with a new accountability system.

A copy of the new rule is below.

School accountability grades will be released by the end of the month.

6AER13-01, School Grade Mitigation.  Notwithstanding any other rule to the contrary, if a school grade preliminarily calculated under Rule 6A-1.09981, FAC., is more than one (1) letter grade below the school’s grade for the prior year, the points assigned based upon the provisions of Rule 6A-1.09981(5)(a)1., 2., and 3., FAC., shall be adjusted such that a school’s letter grade is reduced by no more than one (1) letter grade. The points earned shall be evenly allocated across the components in subparagraphs (5)(a)1., 2., and 3., of Rule 6A-1.09981, FAC., in order to ensure that a school’s grade is based upon the components of student achievement, learning gains and the improvement of the lowest 25th percentile.

Rulemaking Authority 1001.02, 1008.22, 1008.34, 1008.345 FS.

Law Implemented 1008.22, 1008.34, 1008.345 FS. History – New

State Drill Meet

State Drill Meet

On April 7th the Port St. Lucie High School Jaguar Battalion Drill Team competed in the State Drill Meet in Lakeland, FL at George Jenkins High School. With the hard work and diligence from the team, the Jaguars’ Drill Team ended their season on a great note.

State Essay second place winner at Palm Pointe

State Essay second place winner at Palm Pointe

Seventh grade students at Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition recently participated in a state-wide essay contest sponsored by the Florida League of Cities and Florida League of Mayors. This was endorsed by both Mayor Faiella of Port St. Lucie and Mayor Hudson of Fort Pierce.  Palm Pointe is very  excited to announce that out of more than 1,500 state-wide entries, team Apollo’s Isaiah Thermilus’ essay earned a second place finish.  Each essay had to respond to the prompt “If I were elected mayor…” and Isaiah wrote about what he would do to make our city a better place. As the second place winner, Isaiah will receive a $50 gift card and an award to be presented by our mayor at a hometown commission meeting.  Pictured is Isaiah as he proudly shows his certificate for second place for the state.  Great Job Isaiah!

State History Fair Participants & Winners

State History Fair Participants & Winners

The School Board recognized the participants and winners of the State History Fair at the school board meeting on May 26, 2015. The Florida History Fair (FHF) is an annual, statewide activity that enhances the teaching and learning of history at elementary and secondary levels. This year’s theme was Leadership and Legacy in History.  Because the theme was broad, topics about all time periods and geographic regions were possible. The History Fair provided an opportunity for students to showcase their skills in the form of exhibits, historical papers, and websites as they authentically met numerous social studies and English language arts standards through their participation. We are so proud of our students’ accomplishments and demonstration of academic excellence at our local and state competition levels.

These are the students who participated:

Dan McCarty Middle– Tiferne Jean Jr., Jesus Hurtado, Hakem Jean-Baptiste

Forest Grove Middle– Shanel Higuera, Samuel Porter, Rylee Nelson, Elize Starr, Amanda O’Brian, Victoria Penney

Manatee Academy– Cade Saenz

Oak Hammock K-8– Keyla Reid

Palm Pointe Educational Research School– Ellyn Delano, Isabella Nazario-Colon, Samantha Watson, Keren Keys

Southern Oaks Middle– Grace Glennon, Grace Kukielka, Tru Rotolo, Alexis Carr, Aneesa Gilbert

St. Andrews Episcopal Academy– Lindsey Doss, Isabelle McGregor, Cyrina Sofen, Joseph Parr, Taggert Mowery, Daniel Krogh, Kenny Duran, Jack Krasulak

Somerset College Prep Academy– Jordan Gray, Shelby Arbacheski, Josh Bredemeyer, Tyler Birch, Aiyanna Harris, Emilee Blum, Julian Williams, Summer Pace, Andrey Kostadinov, Salma Chirinos

Fort Pierce Central High– Q’Marcus Brooks, Nicole Fernandez, Joshua Ackley, Tianna Enge, Yaretzy Rendon

Port St. Lucie High– Jessica Fernandez, Savannah Cymbal, Mark Alton, Ondra Lee, Diana Nguyen

Treasure Coast High– Gabriella Lara, Shelby Parker


State of Jobs Big Draw for Students

State of Jobs Big Draw for Students

On October 25, 2018, roughly 280 SLPS seniors from across the entire district attended State of the Jobs conference (SOJC). Students learned about various aspects of Skilled Trades, Manufacturing and Healthcare. The three career fields were identified in the Skills Gap Analysis as critical areas in need of workers.

Students learned about each career path and were provided first-hand information within each pathway. Students engaged with vendors on career opportunities and learned about post-secondary education options. The Skilled Trades pathway allowed students to try different skills such as Plumbing, Electric, HVAC, Framing, Screening, Drywall, etc. The Manufacturing pathway provided students with the opportunity to “taste” a product manufactured locally — juice from Natalie’s Juice Company. The healthcare pathway provided students with an abundance of hands-on activities that enhanced students level of engagement. Students learned about financial assistance from FAFSA, about scholarships, and about everything in between.

State of Jobs Big Draw for Students

State of Jobs Conference

Students learn about career pathways in healthcare, manufacturing, and skilled trades during the State of Jobs Fair.

This is a win-win for students and for employers.  Watch this edition of School Report.




State of the Jobs Scholarship Winner

State of the Jobs Scholarship Winner

Ajah English, 12th grader at Lincoln Park Academy, is the recipient of the ” State of the Jobs” Scholarship in the amount of $800.  She is the only recipient from the district.  The scholarship was presented by Leslie Haviland, Director of Student Services, Keiser University; Brian Bauer, Career Source; Pete Tesch, St. Lucie Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County; and Tonya Woodworth, Career Source.




State officials praise Westwood High culinary arts students during visit

State officials praise Westwood High culinary arts students during visit

Students in Chef Maureen Greenberg’s culinary arts program at Fort Pierce Westwood High School were the stars of the day when officials from the Florida Department of Education recently visited the school. The students prepared the meals in the culinary kitchen and served the guests in Panther Pub and Panther Lane Bistro. Pictured in the kitchen, from left, are Jamal Laing, Sunny Trattles, Chef Greenberg, Blanca Morales, and Edline Dor.

State Rep. Larry Lee, Jr. Addresses Allapattah Flats Upward Mobility Group

State Rep. Larry Lee, Jr. Addresses Allapattah Flats Upward Mobility Group

On Friday, October 20, 2017, Allapattah Flats welcomed motivational speaker and State Representative Larry Lee, Jr. as a guest of the Speakers Bureau.  State Rep. Lee was introduced by Dr. Donna Mills who began the Speakers Bureau four years ago.  Rep. Lee has a passion for reaching young people with a message about “Choosing Success!”

Rep. Lee shared some real life struggles from elementary school on up through high school.  He admitted that he did not always make good choices along the way but always had people in his life who encouraged him to strive for better things, and he listened because of the respect that he had for them.  This led Rep. Lee to an avenue of playing football, being on the FPC undefeated football team, and obtaining a football scholarship to attend college!  This is when attending college truly became a reality to Rep. Lee.  A reality that was not on his radar during the early years of his life.

As Rep. Lee continued to share, he captured the group’s attention, especially when he spoke about how he signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 1976.  He spoke about how he was released during the pre-season and did not make the final cut.  Rep. Lee’s story to young men who are aspiring to play professional football is to always have a back-up plan and he explained that the NFL has another meaning and that is ‘Not For Long.’  That’s why you need to get a good education so that you will be “SFL”  which means Set For Life!  He spoke about his pathway from teaching school to where he is today and explained to the group that he has accomplished many things in life by making plans. He offered crucial advice to the group about planning for success.

Rep. Lee explained that if you want to be successful – hang with success people!  He explained that association brings about assimilation so be smart enough to know how to surround yourself with smart people!  Rep. Lee then directed the students’ attention to a “T” model with “Dos” on the left and “Don’ts” on the right and encouraged them to use this model as a guide to govern their daily actions and to evaluate the things that they can do to improve their daily lives, their grades, and their actions.

Rep. Lee concluded with encouraging the students to maintain good grade point averages, good behavior, to dress for success, and above all, encourage each other along the way!  Rep. Lee has high expectations for this “APF-Upward Mobility Group” and will be checking in on their SUCCESS!

State Representative Larry Lee Jr. Challenges Middle School Readers

State Representative Larry Lee Jr. Challenges Middle School Readers

State Rep. Larry Lee Jr. shared stories of his educational challenges and successes with our 6th – 8th grade reading classes.  The motivational speech pointed out the positive impact reading made in his life. He encouraged the students to increase their reading scores and reading time.
This challenge is to get our students to work harder as well as to feel more confident and enthusiastic about reading.


State Representative Larry Lee Visits Civic Class at LPA

State Representative Larry Lee Visits Civic Class at LPA

State Rep. Larry Lee Jr. from District 84 took time out of his busy schedule to speak to Mr. Seabury’s Civics class at Lincoln Park Academy on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014.

State Rep. Lee shared his personal story with the students from the time he graduated high school until he was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently running for re-election. He went on to discuss how bills are introduced in the Florida legislature and how bills become laws, and provided the students with examples of the bills he himself introduced related to the Indian River Lagoon, Literacy in Florida’s school system and his proposal of another Literacy bill if re-elected.

State Rep. Lee also shared his experience as an insurance agent and explained to the class about basic auto insurance and how policies are written. He answered students’ questions and had them complete an individual path to success.
We thank State Rep. Lee for taking time to visit with the students at Lincoln Park Academy.

State Representative Larry Lee visits Palm Pointe

State Representative Larry Lee visits Palm Pointe

Seventh grade civics students at Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition invited Representative Larry Lee to speak with them in relation to this year’s Project Citizen class project. Students have selected public policy problems in the community to research, brainstorm alternative policies, design or modify a public policy solution and implement a plan of action. Mr. Lee spoke with students about his experience as a representative of the people and discussed the process of passing state laws.