2019 Holiday Lunch Celebrating IB Faculty and Staff – THANK YOU!

Thank you for your donations!

The SPHS IB Boosters hosted a holiday lunch for the IB faculty and staff in appreciation for all of their hard work.  The event, hosted at Paul’s Landing at the Vinoy Hotel, was a huge success. Lunch was delicious, and each teacher received a generous gift card.  Thank you to the IB families for their kind donations!!  With your help, staff and teachers were honored for everything they do to help our students succeed. Thank you!

Hospitality News

Please mark your calendars, Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4th-8th, and we are planning a week of surprises for our teachers!  Please email Cindee at cconnon@tampabay.rr.com if you are interested in helping with this event. 

Hospitality is continually collecting items for our IB teachers and classrooms. Hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and tissues are always needed in the classrooms this time of year! We are also restocking the teacher snack cabinets and fridge. Items most needed are individually wrapped snacks, coffee k-cups, water bottles and soft drinks! The teachers are truly grateful for these donations and really appreciate being able to run to the office to grab a handful of snacks, especially on those days they forget their lunch or need an extra boost of energy.  Donations can be dropped off in the front office, please mark them IB office. 

Farewell to Ms. Gianna Zengel

IB Math teacher Gianna Zengel will be leaving us!   She shared a note that explains her departure.

“After 13 years of teaching IB math at St. Pete High, I have decided to take a position teaching IB math at Palm Harbor HS. With three little kids under the age of 5, it has become really important that I am at a school closer to home. This is one of the most life changing decisions I have made in my adult life, and I am so sad to say goodbye to my St. Pete High family. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside the most talented staff and some of the best students in Pinellas County. Thank you for the love, support, and inspiration you have all provided me over the first half of my career. St. Pete High will always have a special place in my heart!”

Thank you Ms. Zengel for your dedicated and positive teaching. We will miss you!

Welcome Ms. Vickie Sweeney, Newest SPHS IB Faculty

Ms. Vickie Sweeney has joined the IB Math faculty and is very excited to be a part of the IB team. She is a former Green Devil, graduated from USF and has been teaching at Gibbs High School the past two years. This year she will be teaching Geometry/Trigonometry and SL Math at SPHS.

Outside of school, she loves paddleboarding around Treasure Island and trips to Disney World.

Ms. Sweeney, welcome back to St. Petersburg High School and we look forward to getting to know you!

Jennie Jamison Retires

Ms. Jamison at Big Cat Rescue

Ms. Jennie Jamison retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year.  She was the last active member of the original SPHS IB program.

She worked with the IB program for 32 years, teaching IB psychology that entire time and the Theory of Knowledge for 9 years.

She authored six texts for IB psychology and has  been a teacher trainer since 1995 and examiner since 1992.

She plans to spend her retirement hiking, continuing to volunteer at Big Cat Rescue, and practicing Tai Chi and yoga. She also stepped up her role as a teacher trainer for IB.

Ms. Jamison is pictured here at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa.  Andre the tiger is one of the cats she sponsors.

Thank you for your decades of dedication and best wishes Ms. Jamison!

Welcome New IB Staff: Carolyn Turner

We invited new IB faculty and staff to introduce themselves to the SPHS IB community. 

I am happy to be in this position as I am a 1976 graduate of St. Petersburg High School.  I also graduated from the University of Florida in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education with a concentration in counseling.

I am the proud mother of two St. Pete High graduates, Oscar and Sakira Hadley.  Sakira graduated from the IB program and received her IB Diploma.  (more…)

Welcome New IB Faculty: David Tennian

We invited new IB faculty and staff to introduce themselves to the SPHS IB community.  Mr. Tennian currently is teaching Psychology 1 and 2 and Pre DP Government/Philosophy.

I was born and raised in Clearwater and spent my free time as a youth playing soccer and baseball and exploring and fishing the salt and fresh waters of Pinellas County.  I graduated from Clearwater High in 1984 and FSU in 1988 where I majored in Psychology.  I later got my Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from USF.


Welcome New IB Faculty: Rob Tarrou

We invited new IB faculty and staff to introduce themselves to the SPHS IB community.

After teaching at St. Petersburg High School for the last 22 years I am very excited and honored to have the opportunity to teach in IB for the first time this year.

This is the only school I have worked at since graduating from USF with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education Degree.  I also went to Bay Point Elementary and Middle School, Lakewood High School, and St. Petersburg Junior College (as it was known when I attended).  I worked at Publix for nine years as I finished high school and attended college at SPC and USF.  So I have been around for awhile!  I have great pride in telling people I work at SPHS! (more…)

Summer Highlights: Alvaro Cano, IB Faculty

Mr. Cano is in the center of the back row.

We invited IB faculty and staff to tell us about their summer highlights.  Alvaro Cano provided this account. Mr. Cano is IB World Languages teacher and Spanish National Honor Society Sponsor.

I attended the iFLT (International Forum on Language Teaching) conference in Cincinnati, OH, with colleagues from other Pinellas County schools. It is sponsored by Fluency Matters and next year’s conference will take place here in St. Petersburg. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun learning new ways of teaching and sharing with the other teachers. It was a really great experience and I am very thankful PCSB gave me the chance to attend.    (more…)

Summer Highlights: Karen Vann, IB Faculty (gallery)

We invited IB faculty and staff to tell us about their summer highlights. Ms. Karen Vann provided this account.

Hi. I am Karen. I am the senior teacher and the senior member on the faculty. That means I have most likely taught your neighbors, friends, cousins, siblings— and perhaps even your parents   I am fortunate to love what I do. Stories, connection, communication— it all matters! (more…)

Summer Highlights: Brandon Rader, IB Faculty

We invited IB faculty and staff to tell us about their summer highlights. Mr. Brandon Rader provided this account.  Mr. Rader is IB History of Americas teacher and Young Feminist Club and GSA Sponsor.

My family and I took a Caribbean cruise to Grand Turk and Puerto Rico.  It was our 4 year old daughter’s first cruise, and she had a blast.  I spent the rest of my summer taking her to swim lessons every day and preparing for new classes at SPHS this year.

Summer Highlights: Gianna Zengel, IB Faculty

We invited IB faculty and staff to tell us about their summer highlights. Gianna Zengel provided this account. Ms Zengel teaches IB Math Studies (Grades 11 and 12) and IB Math SL (Grade 12).

This summer I had a blast hanging out with my two little girls (Abigail 2.5 and Elizabeth 4).  We spent the summer in our pool, at the beach, and visiting the local libraries for story time and crafts.


Summer Highlights: Dave Tennian, IB Faculty (gallery)

We invited IB faculty and staff to tell us about their summer highlights. Mr. Dave Tennian, IB Social Studies Teacher,  provided this account.

I had a fantastic summer filled with boating, fishing, and beaching.  My wife and I also spent a week at our lake house in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and a weekend visiting friends in Montreal, Canada.

One highlight of summer was when my buddies and I encountered a whale shark (picture below) 50 miles off the coast of Clearwater on our way in from a fishing trip.   (more…)

Summer Highlights: Kate Munkittrick, IB Faculty (gallery)

We invited IB faculty and staff to tell us about their summer highlights.  Kate Munkittrick provided this account. Ms. Munkittrick is a Theory of Knowledge/Inquiry Skills Teacher and IB CAS Coordinator.

This summer I had a chance to attend a conference at the University of Florida on Teaching Florida’s Climates (put on by the Florida Humanities Council; https://www.cpet.ufl.edu/teachers/humanities-and-the-sunshine-state/2018-program/). (more…)

Ms. Farias’s Appreciation for her Retirement Gifts

At the May 2018 General Membership meeting, Ms. Farias received flowers and a cash gift from the IB Boosters in honor of her retirement.  This foreshadowed a wonderful presentation of gifts from the Class of 2018 and the parent community at large a few days later at the Senior Celebration.

The total amount raised for Ms. Farias’ Senior Celebration gifts was $4,070!  (more…)

Remembering Carolyn Nelson

Carolyn Harris Nelson, the first full-time guidance counselor at SPHS, died peacefully on June 19, 2018 after suffering several years with a rare neurological disease.  “Carolyn was a great lady and the Nelsons are a great family,” said Ms. Farias.

An award in her name, the Carolyn Nelson (“Ideal IB Student”) Award, is given to a student every year at Senior Celebration.  The Nelson family continues to offer financial support to the IB Guidance Department at SPHS.  One of her grandsons graduated from IB, and two other grandchildren (Katherine and William) currently are enrolled.  (more…)

A Farewell Interview with IB Coordinator Susan Farias (gallery)

Mrs. Farias at March IB Freshman Registration

After 25 years at St. Petersburg High School including 12 years as SPHS IB Coordinator, Susan Farias will retire on June 6, 2018.  At the IB Boosters General Membership Meeting and the Senior Celebration gathering, Ms. Farias received an outpouring of gifts and appreciation for her tireless, caring and expert leadership.  During her tenure here, approximately 2,100 students started the IB program with 1,406 seniors graduating. (more…)

World Languages Showcase: Student & Teacher Recognition (gallery)

Pam Benton, Pinellas County’s PreK-12 World Languages Specialist, recognized teachers and student participants in the 2018 World Languages Showcase held on April 23.   She wrote, “We enjoyed everything from French skits and poetry declamations to an explanation of mate tea and its origins.  A highlight of the evening was “What I’ve Learned” from the students at Morgan Fitzgerald, and St. Petersburg High School students explaining their projects in fluent Spanish.”  (more…)