Best School Superintendent in Florida honored

From the Florida Department of Education:

At yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting, Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart named former St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph G. Joyner as the 2016 Lavan Dukes District Data Leader of the Year. During Dr. Joyner’s tenure, St. Johns has been one of only two districts to achieve an “A” grade every year since district grades were implemented in 2004, and in 2016, St. Johns was the highest performing school district in Florida.

“I am pleased to recognize Dr. Joyner with this prestigious award for his hard work and dedication to Florida students,” said Commissioner Stewart. “He cultivated a student-focused environment that used data to guide instruction and ultimately helped the district’s students achieve outstanding academic results.”

During the 14 years Dr. Joyner served as superintendent, his district’s students consistently performed among the best in the state. Dr. Joyner emphasized the use of data to help ensure all students had the information they needed to embark on a learning path that would enable them to be well-rounded graduates with good character and strong leadership skills.

To help teachers become more familiar with and understand the data pertaining to their students, each Wednesday was an early-release day, during which time teachers and administrators reviewed the most current data. Through professional learning communities, teachers dove deeper into the data and worked together to remedy any gaps they identified.

Data use extended beyond classroom instructors. District staff met with principals, assistant principals, school psychologists, guidance counselors and instructional literacy coaches each month to discuss the most recent data. The information from those meetings was used to drive instruction and monitor student progress, which is crucial in helping students stay on track. It also provided an avenue through which school personnel could identify when a student needs additional assistance before he or she falls too far behind.

The Lavan Dukes District Data Leader of the Year Program highlights the critical role district superintendents play in supporting and encouraging the use of data to improve students’ college and career readiness. The award is named after Lavan Dukes to honor longtime Department of Education employee Garnet Lavan Dukes for his numerous contributions to public education on both the state and national levels.