February 6, 2018
Dear St. Johns Family,
It is with great excitement that I write to you today to share the appointment of two individuals to key St. Johns leadership positions for the upcoming school year.
Head of Lower School
As I announced in September, after 29 years of dedicated service, this year will be Mary Helen Cauthen's last as Head of Lower School. Since that announcement, we have been working diligently to find the most qualified candidate to be our new Head of Lower School. Our aim was to find a candidate who would continue the tradition of compassionate leadership that Mary Helen has provided for our students and faculty while joining with the school's leadership team in a process of continuous improvement and putting our students first.
With this goal at the forefront, it is with enthusiasm and a great deal of optimism that I announce that Mr. Otis Wirth has accepted the position of Head of Lower School and will commence his duties on July 1, 2018. Mr. Wirth will come to St. Johns with his wife Christy after serving since 2013 as the Headmaster of Miami Shores Presbyterian School. While at Miami Shores, Otis has transformed a small school into well-respected member of the Florida Council of Independent Schools through a relentless commitment to placing students at the heart of all decisions.
In his more than 30 years of experience in Lower School classrooms and leadership positions, Otis has served as a Kindergarten to Grade 5 classroom teacher, a coordinator of enrichment and gifted students, math department chair, and as an Accreditation Chairperson for FCIS schools around the state.
While celebrating Mary Helen and her dedication and commitment to the students and faculty of St. Johns, I look forward to welcoming Otis and Christy to the St. Johns family.
Head of Academics
Since its founding, a major contributor to St. Johns' success has been—and I believe will continue to be—the quality of our academic program. We have already announced our 2018-2019 academic initiatives, including the Fellowship and Foundations programs, and we are planning now for 2019-2020. To ensure the successful implementation of these robust new programs and those that will follow, we have established the position of Head of Academics, which I am pleased to announce will be filled by our own Mary Virginia Fisher.
With experience gained from more than forty years filling integral roles at St. Johns, including Head of Upper School, Foreign Language Department Chair, Upper School Dean, and many others, Mary Virginia will provide leadership to the academic departments that serve each of our divisions, including college counseling, curriculum development, the Heinrich Learning Resource Center, and academic technology staff. In addition, Mary Virginia will retain her title of Assistant Headmaster.
With Mary Virginia's appointment to the new role effective July 1, 2018, we will immediately begin our search for a new Head of Upper School.
I can't express how enthusiastic I am about both of these announcements and the impact these individuals will have on our school and our students.
Todd A. Zehner '87