Our Episcopal Identity
St. John’s is an Episcopal Parish Day School, and as such has a foundation in the Christian faith. We seek to integrate religious and spiritual formation into the overall curriculum and life of our school community. In doing so, however, we celebrate the inclusiveness that is the Mission of Episcopal schools. We invite all who attend and work at St. John’s – Episcopalians and non-Episcopalians, Christians and non-Christians, people of no faith tradition – both to seek clarity about their own beliefs and religions and to honor those traditions more fully and faithfully in their own lives. Above all, we exist not merely to educate but to demonstrate and proclaim the unique worth and beauty of all human beings as creations of a loving, empowering God.
St. John’s Episcopal Parish Day School prepares each of its students for lifelong intellectual and spiritual growth by providing a superior educational experience within a nurturing Christian environment.
We seek to educate a diverse student body to achieve high levels of academic, personal, and spiritual growth, fostered by committed professionals and supported by a united Church and School. Graduates will leave empowered to lead and innovate in an evolving world.
During the 2016-2017 school year, a full faculty discussion took place about educational philosophies and how these philosophies translate to excellence in teaching at St. John’s. A survey was completed by our faculty and yielded tremendous parallel definitions from 80 personnel of what constitutes “excellence in teaching.” These are their thoughts:
- Ability to deliver and support academically challenging lessons
- Teachers that are experts in their subjects while continually seeking professional development to expand and improve knowledge of content and effective methods of instructing that content to students
- Excellent classroom management to provide an environment that is conducive for optimal learning
- Differentiated instruction designed through faculty collaboration
- Knowing each child, building rapport with students, and determining the needs that are most pertinent to the students
- Presenting curriculum in a way that engages students, peeks their curiosity, and motivates them to learn
- Positive loving attitude towards students and the education profession
St. John’s proudly prioritizes academic excellence, an evolving concept in today’s dynamic world. Never static, the St. John’s curriculum not only prepares its students for future academic success, but also builds a platform for students to confidently and creatively explore an ever-changing world of opportunities.
We are committed to our internal St. John’s family and our surrounding community. This commitment means we are servants to each other in the true meaning of Christianity, and we recognize that the blessings we enjoy provide us with opportunity and the obligation to give back.
We honor the high ethical standards we set for ourselves and each other, and we lead by example in our lives both inside and outside St. John’s.
St. John’s fosters an environment in which the simple pursuit of our goals defines success. Initiative, effort and personal responsibility, once instilled, help the St. John’s student overcome any perceived obstacle, building resilience and empowering the individual to define their own path.
Situated just outside the heart of downtown Tampa, St. John’s reflects our city’s diverse communities. As an Episcopal school, we embrace the philosophy of open hearts and open minds, and understand the power of cultural and spiritual inclusion in our increasingly global environment.
St. John's History
The School was founded in September 1951 by Father C. W. Brickman, then Rector of St. John’s Parish, making St. John’s the oldest Episcopal school in Central Florida and the second oldest in the state. In 1954, Father George Burchill became the School’s first full time Headmaster. He retired in December 1992, after 38 years of service.
During the long Burchill tenure, the School became widely known for its academic rigor. School facilities at the Orleans Avenue campus were expanded and enrollment increased accordingly. In the mid-1970s, a small campus on Rome Avenue was purchased and remodeled, providing a separate place for four- and five-year-old kindergarten students (Forms I through II) — the Primary School.
In 1999, when it was determined that expanding the existing main campus on Orleans Avenue would be difficult at that time, the St. John’s Parish Vestry purchased a substantial land parcel on Plant Avenue with two buildings in order to create a separate Middle School campus. A successful capital campaign brought in over $4 million — enough for the land purchase and nearly all the expenses of reconstructing the existing buildings, as well as adding a new gymnasium and classroom annex. The remodeled buildings, including a new chapel, were opened to 5th through 8th grades (Forms VII through X) in August 2001. The gymnasium and classroom annex, including a science laboratory, were opened in the fall of 2002. During the summer of 2004, the Primary School was completely refurbished and doubled in size to accommodate an additional class in Forms I and II.
Early in 2000, steps were taken to create the School’s first Board of Trustees and to establish a separate non-profit corporation for the School. Corporate ownership of the campuses and facilities was settled on the members of the Parish Vestry. The new Board of Trustees began its service in July 2000.
Gordon R. Rode was appointed Headmaster on July 1, 2005. During the 2008-2009 school year, the Board of Trustees developed a plan, which increased enrollment from 400 to 600 students. In September 2012, the Board of Trustees revised the Mission and Philosophy of the School and, over the 2013-2014 school year, updated the Strategic Plan to consider academic program, extra-curricular, technology, and facility needs for the next five years and beyond.
Robert S. Stephens was appointed the School’s eighth Head of School, in January 2014. During the 2017-2018 school year, the Strategic Plan was updated by a ten person committee consisting of students, teachers, administrators, parents, and trustees, and the Strategic Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees in March 2018. The newly adopted Strategic Plan included a statement about the school’s Episcopal Identity, Core Values, the Mission Statement and Vision Statement, and Strategic Plan Goals & Strategies. Additionally, in March 2018, the Board of Trustees appointed Hugh Jebson as the next Head of School beginning on July 1, 2019, and Stuart Work was appointed the School’s Interim Head of School for the 2018-2019 school year.