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The Direct Connection


Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, Teachers, Staff and Administrators,

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, it is that wonderful time of year when we count our blessings.   Life can be unpredictable, so let's not forget the gifts in our lives--our family and friends, our students, our colleagues, and the opportunities to make a difference that our profession gives to each of us. 

It is an incredible feeling to know that we are changing the lives of students every day, and at the same time, it is hard to believe the challenges that we have faced in four short months.  Since Hurricane Irma, the stressors from that storm event have lingered in our schools and communities.  Moreover, we have recently received students who have come to us from storm-ravaged communities in Puerto Rico, Texas and South Florida.  I am grateful for the work you have done on behalf of all our students. This has happened because you care deeply about our students and our schools.

The teachers, administrators and staff at each of our schools keep the business of education moving forward.  The time and effort it has taken to create a safe and nurturing learning environment has been essential.  All of us recognize that teaching is exceptionally hard work, and it is yielding positive results as our students continue to make progress and are graduating in greater numbers.  I am appreciative of the staff of media specialists, school counselors, clerks, paraprofessionals, FMTs, nurses, SWC employees, substitute teachers, extended day staff and GCA working in the background because they are absolutely vital to schools' day-to-day operations.  I am grateful for the administrators, their leadership, the long hours that they work and the personal sacrifices the job often requires.

Being one of the largest school districts in Florida and the United States requires a large staff that functions to support for our schools. The district staff throughout all the departments play that important role, and I am thankful for all of them.  Some of these colleagues you see in the schools—such as bus drivers, USAs, delivery men, and curriculum and facilities personnel, yet there are many who are unseen working every day to provide services to the schools and other functions of the district.

John F. Kennedy said, "We must find the time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives."  I trust this Thanksgiving letter has conveyed that sentiment, and with that I wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Tom Russell

 James T. Russell

Superintendent of Schools


386/734-7190, extension 20210

Fax:  386/734-2842


Twitter:  @jrussell_t


The Direct Connection (2017-2018)

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