Sarasota County Schools News

Sarasota County Schools Announce a 5-Point Safety and Security Plan

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North Port Police with Students

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 22, 2018 – The Sarasota County School District has announced a five-point plan to immediately provide short and long-term safety practices and capital improvements to enhance the security of its schools, students and staff. The plan includes the following action items:

 -          Collaborate with local law enforcement to provide off-duty officers on 21 elementary school campuses through the end of the 2017 – 2018 school year.

-          Place School Resource Officers on all Sarasota County school campuses for the 2018 – 2019 school year.

-          Invest $25 million in capital funds to enhance the physical and environmental structures of our schools.

-          Strengthen the capacity of the internal Office of Safety, Security and Emergency Management department.

-          Work with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office to explore a school guardian program.

“The school district’s top priority will be the implementation the district’s five-point safety plan as soon as possible to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” said Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “We are fortunate to have incredible support from Sheriff Knight and our local municipal police departments, and are grateful for their continued assistance. We look forward to additional discussions to develop an impactful plan long-term.”

“Since the Parkland tragedy, we have listened to our staff, students, school board members, parents and the community at large on this issue,” noted Bridget Ziegler, Sarasota County School Board chairman. “This is the first phase of many we will implement to ensure the safety of our students and staff, and we look forward to working with numerous stakeholders to make Sarasota County schools as safe as possible.”

The school district’s five-point plan comes at a time when school districts across Florida have responded to the passage of the state’s school safety bill to ensure the security of schools across the state. The school district’s total Safe Schools allocation from the state for the 2018 – 2019 school year is more than $2.4 million – that’s up from $950,00 this school year. Of the $2.4 million, 15 percent will be used to support charter schools in the district.

In addition to this plan, the school district has earmarked more than $1 million to tackle mental and behavioral health issues, which will be addressed by the school board next month.

 About Sarasota County Schools

Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to be consistently graded “A” every year since grading began in 2004. Learn more:




Jamie Lowicz Appointed Principal at Oak Park School

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SARASOTA COUNTY, March 21, 2018 – Superintendent Todd Bowden has appointed Jamie Lowicz as principal of Oak Park School, which serves students with special needs from pre-K to age 22. She has served as acting principal of Oak Park since July 31, 2017. Her appointment is pending confirmation from the school board.

“I am happy to select Jamie Lowicz for this significant role,” noted Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “She has proven herself to be a strong and capable leader, and the students and staff at Oak Park are lucky to have such a caring and qualified individual to effectively lead the school.”

“Oak Park is one of the District’s flagship schools, known for its diverse service delivery to students with special needs,” said Principal Jamie Lowicz. “It is my privilege to continue to work alongside such dedicated and highly skilled faculty to provide rigorous instruction and specialized programming to meet the academic, social-emotional and therapeutic needs of each of the students we serve.”

“Jamie brings the right background, education and experience to this role,” stated Stephen Cantees, executive director of high schools. “Oak Park is a special school and it takes a special person to lead the students and staff on a path to success. I am delighted Jamie will serve in this capacity long-term.”

Prior to assuming the acting principal position at Oak Park, Ms. Lowicz was an assistant principal at Sarasota High School from 2013 to 2017. She was also a behavior specialist at Riverview High School. Ms. Lowicz has also served in Charlotte County schools from 2006 to 2012, and was previously an executive director at Pacesetter Academy in Omaha, NE. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Missouri State University and a master’s from National Louis University in Tampa.

About Sarasota County Schools

Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to consistently earn an A-grade since 2004. Learn more:

1-Mill Referendum Passes

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PR Photo

Additional Revenue Supports Sarasota County Schools for Four More Years

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 20, 2018 – Sarasota County voters have approved an extension of the 1-Mill tax renewal, providing Sarasota County Schools with additional revenue to support every school throughout the district for four more years. Preliminary figures show 79 percent voted yes in today’s election.

The referendum currently generates $56 million that is used to keep and retain outstanding teachers, support arts programs and STEM initiatives and fund additional safety and security efforts. The revenue also provides for an additional 30-minutes of instruction per day which equates to an entire year of instruction and learning experiences for students who attend kindergarten through twelfth grade in Sarasota County schools. Money derived from this year’s referendum will commence starting with the 2018-2019 school year.

“We can’t thank the voters of Sarasota County enough for their continued support of our teachers and students,” said Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “The renewal of this tax assessment helps ensure the students throughout our school district continue to thrive, and we are grateful for the support of our community. For years, Sarasota County has been fortunate to have the support of our voters, and we are excited for our colleagues in Manatee County to experience the benefits of their referendum as well.”

Voters throughout Sarasota County have supported the referendum since 2002. The $56 million generated through the 1-Mill referendum equates to $1, 275 per student and is shared equally among all schools in Sarasota County based on student enrollment.

About Sarasota County Schools
Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to be consistently graded “A” every year since grading began in 2004. Learn more:

Kristi Jarvis appointed Principal at Ashton Elementary

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Kristi Jarvis

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 13, 2018 – Kristi Jarvis has been named the new principal at Ashton Elementary by Superintendent Todd Bowden, effective immediately and pending Board approval. She has served as acting principal since June of 2017. 

“Kristi Jarvis has done a wonderful job as acting principal at Ashton Elementary this school year,” commented Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “She has been a tremendous asset to the school district for more than 13 years, and her leadership and ability to connect to the Ashton community has served all of us well. I know she will continue to be an inspiring leader to her students and staff.”

“I have truly enjoyed working collectively with the staff, students, and families of Ashton. I am inspired each day as I walk through classrooms and interact with our amazing staff and students,” said Kristi Jarvis, principal at Ashton Elementary. “Our mission to serve ‘Every Child, Every Day’, resonates throughout the school. I look forward to our journey as we inspire, dream, grow and become more together!” 

“Kristi Jarvis has done a remarkable job as the acting Principal of Ashton. Her experience and leadership style are a perfect match for the school,” noted Christopher Renouf, executive director of Elementary Schools. “The students, staff and families are fortunate to have Kristi as a permanent part of the Ashton family as they reach for the stars every day.”

Ms. Jarvis has served as the acting principal of Ashton Elementary since June of 2017. Prior to that role, she was assistant principal at Phillippi Shores Elementary from 2015 – 2017. She began her career in Sarasota at Brentwood Elementary where she taught third and fourth grade for seven years. She also served as a literacy/data coach, a reading and math resource teacher and testing coordinator at Brentwood. Ms. Jarvis earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Jones International University and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Specific Learning Disabilities from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio.  

About Sarasota County Schools
Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to consistently earn an A-grade since 2004. Learn more:

Statement regarding the signing of the school safety bill

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SCS News

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 9, 2018 – Sarasota County Schools continues to develop strategies that improve our school safety and security practices. We are considering additional SROs and other options to provide an armed presence at all our schools. These strategies will be taken up with the School Board, in partnership with local law enforcement, as part of a comprehensive Safe Campus initiative. We appreciate the decisiveness on the part of Governor Scott and state law makers on this issue, and are pleased the bill signed into law today provides flexibility for each school district. 

Third Digital Town Hall set for March 12 advance questions are welcome

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Digital Town Hall

SARASOTA, Mar. 8, 2017 - Our next Sarasota County Schools Digital Town Hall, will be held Monday Mar. 12, 2018. This technology-enhanced public forum is a key part of our ongoing efforts to reach families where they are and engage in two-way communication via the devices we all use every day.

We hope you will join us for our third Digital Town Hall, Monday, March 12, from 7-8:15 p.m. You can email your questions in advance to or submit them during the live event. 

During the event, streamed live on the district website and Facebook Live and broadcast on The Education Channel—Comcast 20 and Frontier 33—people will be able to ask our panel questions through Facebook and Twitter and receive real-time responses. You can join in and participate on a smart phone, tablet or computers.

The first half of the program will be devoted to a very important subject: Referendum. Superintendent Todd Bowden will be joined by the Sarasota County School Board chair Bridget Ziegler, Board member Jane Goodwin, Assistant Superintendent for Operations Scott Lempe, North Port High School Principal Brandon Johnson and a student from North Port High School.

For the remaining half-hour we will open the questions on safety and security topics. Joining Dr. Bowden, the school board chair and Mr. Lempe for that portion of the program will be Director of Safety, Security and Emergency Management Michael Andreas, Booker High School Principal Rachel Shelley and a Booker High School parent.

Wherever you are during the Digital Town Hall, we hope you will join us on your phones or computers at 7 p.m., Monday, March 12. And please, feel free to ask a question in advance via the email link above and/or during the live event! We look forward to answering your questions about school safety and security and other topics! 


Troy Thompson Named Principal at Lamarque Elementary

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Troy Thompson

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 5, 2018 – Troy Thompson has been named the new principal at Lamarque Elementary School effective April 2, pending Board approval. Mr. Thompson currently serves as assistant principal of Emma E. Booker Elementary where he has worked as an administrator since 2016. Mr. Thompson returns to Lamarque where he was an assistant principal from 2013 – 2016 and oversaw professional development programs for teachers, and led instructional and classified trainings to ensure best practices in the classroom and school. Sandra Russell, who has been serving as acting principal of Lamarque will remain in this post through March.

“We are delighted that Troy Thompson has achieved this milestone in his long-standing career with Sarasota County Schools,” noted Dr. Todd Bowden, school superintendent. “It is wonderful to see such a committed administrator assume the principal role after accomplishing so much for our district. I also want to thank Sandra Russell for her leadership and guidance during this transition.”

“The community of Lamarque Elementary holds a special place in my heart, said Troy Thompson. “The opportunity to return to the school as principal is truly an honor. I’m excited for the endless possibilities ahead.”

“There were many qualified candidates for this position; however, Troy’s previous experience at Lamarque will enable him to assume the role quickly,” stated Christopher Renouf, executive director of Elementary School Education. “His knowledge of the school and working relationship with the staff is unparalleled. For Troy, it’s like coming home”

Mr. Thompson has had a long-standing career with Sarasota County Schools where he has worked since 1998. Prior to Emma E. Booker and Lamarque Elementary, Mr. Thompson served as an assistant principal intern at Phillippi Shores Elementary IB World School where he was responsible for the Shared Decision-Making Team and School Action Committee from 2011 – 2013. He holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida. Mr. Thompson lives in Sarasota with his wife, Maggie and their two daughters.

About Sarasota County Schools

Dedicated to academic excellence, Sarasota County Schools is home to 53 schools, 43,000 students and 5,000 employees. It is one of only two Florida districts to be graded A every year since grading began in 2004. Learn more:

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