Citrus Schools message on solar eclipse happening on Monday, 8/21/2017

Citrus Schools message on solar eclipse happening on Monday, 8/21/2017

District-MesssageImportant message from Superintendent of Schools, Sandra “Sam” Himmel regarding the partial solar eclipse occurring over Citrus County on Monday, August 21, 2017.


If you have specific concerns please contact your student’s school and visit

No Lice Issues Reported

No Lice Issues Reported

There have been some unofficial reports recently of a lice issue at Forest Ridge Elementary.  FRE at this time has not received any reports of lice. The Citrus School District nor FRE has issued any statement regarding any problems or concerns of lice at FRE.

If you have any concerns for your student please do not hesitate to contact your students’ school’s health clinic.

Thank you,
Thomas Kennedy

Lecanto Athletic Director Inducted into FACA Hall of Fame

Lecanto Athletic Director Inducted into FACA Hall of Fame

AllanCongratulations to Lecanto’s athletic/activities director, Ron Allan on receiving the Florida Athletic Coaches Association’s highest honor, as being inducted into the 2018 FACA Hall of Fame.

Coach Allan is not only the school’s athletic/activities director but is the Girls Basket Ball coach and has football and other sports at LHS and beyond.

To be eligible for the FACA Hall of Fame award you need to have a minimum of 20 years of service in the coaching profession in Florida. Criteria for selection are based on coaching record, championships won, head coaching tenure, FACA service and awards.

Well done Coach Allan!

Purple Heart Anniversary

Purple Heart Anniversary


Was honored to have accompany me to the the Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 Military Order of the Purple Heart breakfast, former POW and two Purple Heart recipient, Capt. Richard Tangeman, U.S.N (Retired) and his wife Lori. With us is Florida Senator Wilton Simpson.

August 7th is the Nation’s Anniversary of the Purple Heart.  This weekend as the Nation’s First Purple Heart School District, Citrus Schools was honored to be asked by the Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) to celebrate at their annual MOPH Awards Breakfast.

During the event Patriot, Curt Ebitz read ‘The History of the Purple Heart’.

The History of the Purple Heart, first known as “Badge of Military Merit”

080713PurpleHeart_HistoryAt his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, on August 7, 1782, General George Washington devised two new badges of distinction for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers. To signify loyal military service, he ordered a chevron to be worn on the left sleeve of the uniform coat for the rank and file who had completed three years of duty “with bravery, fidelity, and good conduct”; two chevrons signified six years of service. The second badge, for “any singularly meritorious Action,” was the “Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding.” This device, the Badge of Military Merit, was affixed to the uniform coat above the left breast and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge and to have his name and regiment inscribed in a Book of Merit. The Badge specifically honored the lower ranks, where decorations were unknown in contemporary European Armies. As Washington intended, the road to glory in a patriot army is thus open to all.”

Pre-WW2 Awards: The Purple Heart as we know it today was reestablished in 1932 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. The original criteria for award of the Purple Heart as published in the War Department Circular No. 6 of February 22, 1932 states that the medal be awarded to anyone serving in the Army who had received combat-related injuries or had received the AEF’s Meritorious Service Citation Certificate during WWI, the latter criteria harkening back to the intent of George Washington’s “Badge of Military Merit”.

WWII Awards: In April 1942 the War Department amended its policy regarding the issuance of the Purple Heart. The new regulations authorized the posthumous award of the Purple Heart retroactive to December 7, 1941, and eliminated the use of the medal as a merit award.


Citrus Rocket Girls win National Title

Citrus Rocket Girls win National Title

Lilianna Henry with her new rocket launch at Citrus Springs Elementary.

Lilianna Henry with her new rocket launch at Citrus Springs Elementary.

In our classrooms, we encourage and want our students to shoot for the stars.  Today two of those students were awarded a national title for doing just that.   Crystal River Middle School student, Victoria Miterko and Citrus Springs Middle School student Lilianna Henry (both formally of Citrus Springs Elementary) were notified that each of their mo

del rocket launch entries in the “Reach for the Stars” ~ National Rocket Competition were national winners.  Miterko and Henry are the sixth Citrus schools’ students in the last four years to be nationally recognized.  An outstanding accomplishment.  The competition is done annually in memory of Christa McAuliffe the world’s first Teacher-in-Space.

For seven years local educator Christina Hackey (Citrus Springs Elementary) has been teaching rocket science in her classrooms.  Hackey shares how vital it is for students today to have hands-on learning and that focusing on the “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) subjects.  Hackey, a mother of three daughters, explains how important it is that we encourage girls to participate, learn and go into these high-tech fields.  Miterko and Henry are one step closer to that happening.

Lilianna Henry with educator Christina Hackey following Henry's launch.

Lilianna Henry with educator Christina Hackey following Henry’s launch.

Miterko and Henry will receive a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative medal and the opportunity to launch rockets from Homer Hickam Field at Space Camp under an “October Sky” on October 17th, 2017 at the US Space & Rocket Center, in Huntsville Alabama.  October Sky is a reference to the 1999 film about Homer Hickam and the Rocket Boys. It is the true story of Hickam and his friend who learn about and launch model rockets.  Later Hickam himself goes on to college and becomes a NASA scientist helping launch the NASA Space Shuttles.

The local “Reach for the Stars” rocket competition is sponsored in part by the Citrus County Education Foundation.

Congratulations to Victoria Miterko and Lilianna Henry!

Veterans in the classroom and Veterans in our classrooms

Veterans in the classroom and Veterans in our classrooms

IMG_7832r2At Citrus County School District’s annual ‘Welcome Back Teachers’ Conference on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 Superintendent of Schools, Sandra “Sam” Himmel honored a special group of people in our community and schools, our military veterans.  Superintendent Himmel asked area military organizations’ Honor Guards to open the conference.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Superintendent Himmel asked representatives of our Veterans in the Classroom program to join her on stage.  These amazing team of over 80 veterans each year make individual visits to our school classrooms to share about their service in the military and what it means to serve.

What Superintendent Himmel did next was to ask every teacher that is a military veteran to come and join the other veteran up front.

As these men and women came up front I watched as the brotherhood of their shared service immediately came through.  Some were meeting for the first time and honoring one another.  I couldn’t help but heard one veteran turn to CRHS teacher retired Air Force Master Sergeant Thomas O’ Brien and say, “how long did you serve?”  O’Brien gentle replied, “20 years, Air Force”.

These are veterans in our classrooms every day.  Citrus has a rich tradition of teachers who are military veterans, including former Prisoner of war heroes, C.I.A. Intelligent Officers and those that have served in every major war or conflict over the last hundred years.  These are just some of the military veterans that our teaching in our schools today: MSG Thomas O’ Brien, U.S.A.F (Ret.); Sr. Chief Ira Sparkman, U.S.N. (Ret.); Warrant Officer Elizabeth Rivera, U.S.N. (Ret.); LTC Dave Brown, U.S.A. (Ret.); former-MSG Dean Kelly U.S.A.; Col. Dennis Yamrose, U.S.A.F (Ret.); former-Lt Brady Hannett U.S.A.F (Ret.); MILITARY VETERAN Eric Brown: MILITARY VETERAN Robert LeCours; MILITARY VETERAN Bill Nelson, and many many more.  In addition to these great service men and women in our classrooms are the addition of non-instructional staff persons that work in our schools and departments.  At the top of our district leadership educators is our current Assistant Superintendent, former-Capt. Michael Mullen, U.S.A.

We are so grateful for the example they are to our young people.  They are living examples of what service to country is.  They are essential in administration and instruction of our successful programs like our Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. They are critical to leadership in our district and schools.  They are examples of the high quality of our staff.  They are the teachers that impact our young people’s lives.

To each and every one of them, we respectfully and gratefully say, “Thank you! And God bless you!”