Built in 1968, the angular, award-winning style of Tomoka Elementary will be replaced with streamlined walkways. Photo by Suzanne McCarthy
Ormond Beach Observer
Thirty-two years of principal leadership came together on Wednesday, June 7, for a final visit to Tomoka Elementary School.
Julie Roseboom, Tomoka’s principal since 2018, was joined by former principals Susan Tuten, Julie Johnson and Volusia County School Board member Carl Persis to reminisce and bid farewell to the school before demolition began later that day.
Johnson, principal from 2004-2015, reflected on her time at the school.
“Tomoka is so special,” she said. “The community, the families, and the staff make it such an extraordinary school. The family atmosphere is what strikes you first and foremost when you come here.”
The four colleagues have known each other professionally and personally for years, moving through their careers as principals together. Roseboom and Tuten, who was principal from 2015-2018, attended middle school together. Roseboom’s mother was Johnson’s school secretary in the 1990s, and Carl Persis was principal when Roseboom’s children attended elementary school.
“We’ve gone to all of our principals’ meetings together for years,” Roseboom said.
Johnson added that Persis has “always been a mentor to all principals.”
Persis was Tomoka’s principal for 13 years, from 1991 to 2004.
“Some of the best years of my life were right here at Tomoka Elementary School,” he said.
Regularly — and as recently as the previous day, Persis said — he is greeted around town by former students.
“It’s the best,” he said.
The district is hoping to improve traffic delays on Granada Boulevard caused by the drop-off and pick-up lines at the school. Persis said people applauded during the City Commission meeting on June 6 when Mayor Bill Partington announced that, as part of the redesign, the district would improve the parent drop-off area. The district plans to incorporate more space for pick-up lane stacking to minimize road obstructions during afternoon dismissals.
The original Tomoka Elementary, built in 1968, won state architectural awards at the time. The new school’s theme, based on Tomoka State Park, will use green vertical lines to represent trees and blue horizontal lines to represent the river. The district aims to open the new Tomoka Elementary campus by the start of the 2024 school year.