Wierda retiring – Richardson tapped as new principal

Historic City News has learned that Jessica Richardson, assistant principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary School, has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Ocean Palms Elementary School.

The nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at its June 10th meeting. Richardson plans to assume the position from retiring Principal Betsy Wierda for the next school year.

“We wish to express our gratitude to Betsy Wierda for her years of service to the children in St. Johns County,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “The passion and dedication she displayed in her work is greatly appreciated.”

Richardson started her teaching career in St. Johns County 15 years ago and is in her third year of serving as assistant principal. She has taught second, third and fourth grade as well as served as an instructional literacy coach. Richardson’s fondest memories of teaching come from years spent working with students in the unique learning environment that an inclusion classroom offers.

“I knew immediately who would be a great candidate for the next principal at Ocean Palms,” stated Joyner. “Jessica Richardson is an outstanding instructional leader with excellent skills in all areas. I have great confidence in her ability and know she will serve the community effectively.”

Academically, Richardson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida, a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University, and is nationally board certified as a middle childhood generalist teacher.

“I am overjoyed with the opportunity to return to Ocean Palms in the capacity of principal,” said Richardson. “Continuing the strong foundation of excellence that has been established by Betsy Weirda and her staff is a privilege. It is with a humble heart and a great sense of enthusiasm that I embark on this new journey alongside the amazing staff and community of Ocean Palms Elementary.”

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