Superintendent announces new district principal choices

275-SJCSD-LOGOWayne King, principal at Valley Ridge Academy (VRA), has been selected by Superintendent Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Sebastian Middle School. His nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at its May 10 meeting together with other selections throughout the district that were reported to Historic City News.

Ryan Player, principal at White Knoll High School in Lexington, SC, has been selected by Superintendent Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Alice B. Landrum Middle School. His nomination will be presented to the School Board at its May 10 meeting.

Sandra McMandon, principal at Durbin Creek Elementary (DCE), has been selected by Superintendent Joseph Joyner to be the principal at VRA. Her nomination will be presented to the School Board at its May 10 meeting.

King opened and has served as principal of VRA since 2014. He also served as principal at St. Johns Technical High School from 2011-2013 and Landrum Middle School from 2007-2011. He has 19 years of experience in the school district as a teacher and administrator at the Gaines Alternative Center, the Evelyn Hamblen Center, SJTHS and Switzerland Point Middle School. King was named the St. Johns County School District’s (SJCSD) Outstanding Principal of the Year in 2010. Prior to his experience in the SJCSD, King spent three years at Flagler College as the assistant dean of students. King has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Flagler College and a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Jacksonville University.

“Wayne King is one of our finest leaders with a wealth of diverse experiences,” said Joyner. His innovative style and dedication to the success of students make him the perfect match for Sebastian Middle School.”

Player has served as the principal at White Knoll High School since 2012. Prior to this position he served as assistant principal at WKHS and D.W. Daniel High School. He has 16 years of instructional experience in Columbia, Rock Hill and Lexington, SC serving as a middle school math teacher, varsity football coach and summer school director. WKHS received the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School of Excellence Award and an Excellent rating on the state school report card for 2013, 2014 and 2015, under his leadership. Player has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Teaching from Clemson University and a Master of Education in Education Administration from the University of South Carolina.

“Mr. Player is a high performing principal and will be an excellent addition to the leadership team in St. Johns County,” said Joyner. His personal and professional values are a clear match with our school district and he will be an outstanding principal at Landrum Middle School.”

McMandon has served as the principal of DCE since 2011. She has been employed by the SJCSD since 1993 and is a lifelong resident and graduate of St. Johns County. She served as a teacher at Julington Creek and Cunningham Creek elementary schools, an assistant principal at Gamble Rogers Middle School and South Woods and Otis Mason elementary schools before joining DCE. In addition to maintaining an “A” status at DCE, she encourages her staff to grow as professionals and was appointed to the Florida Department of Education’s Commissioner’s Leadership Academy in 2015. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Florida State University, Master of Education in Elementary Education and certification in Educational Leadership, both from the University of North Florida.

“Ms. McMandon has been one of our highest performing principals for many years,” said Joyner. “She is one of those rare leaders who has both middle and elementary experience. I am confident she will take Valley Ridge Academy to the next level of excellence.”

King will replace current SMS Principal Kelly Battell who will be joining the district office as Director of Student Services replacing Sallyanne Smith who is retiring in June.

Player will replace LMS Principal Jewel Johnson who will be joining the district as Director of Instructional Personnel replacing Cathy Geiger who is retiring in May.

“I know that Ms. Battell and Ms. Johnson will continue to the level of service and the excellence that has been established in these positions by Ms. Geiger and Ms. Smith,” said Joyner. “Ms. Battell and Ms. Johnson are both servant leaders with outstanding skills and I have the highest confidence in their ability to take on these new roles.”

Pending School Board approval, these principal nominees will begin their new positions on July 1.

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