Ribbon-Cutting Celebrates Innovation in Education

by: Rachel Barrett, Director of Marketing and Communications

Shorecrest opens new Innovation & Design Studio.

Though students have enjoyed the new studio since the fall of 2016, February 4, 2017 marked the official ribbon-cutting of the new Innovation & Design Studio in the Middle School at Shorecrest, a leading preschool-12th grade independent school in St. Pete.

“Hosting the ribbon-cutting in early 2017 tied in beautifully with our new Apple Distinguished School distinction and our hosting of the St. Pete STEAMfest,” says Shorecrest Director of Educational Technology Dr. Anna Baralt. “Plus we loved that the timing allowed us to have lots of concrete examples of the space in action and incredible results for students.”

The Innovation & Design Studio is the result of a major renovation of what was formerly the Middle School Art Studio. The renovations, flexible-use furniture, and new technology were funded by a grant from Steelcase Education, with help from Banko Overhead Doors and the Shorecrest Annual Fund.  

The impetus to overhaul the space came from two forward-thinking Shorecrest Middle School teachers, Art Teacher Cindy Williams and Christine Scoby, Instructional Technologist and Curriculum Dean. The two have worked collaboratively over the past three years to implement a curriculum that merges Art and Technology to activate deeper learning across curricula and grade levels.

Headmaster Mike Murphy, along with Shorecrest Board Chair Elizabeth Samuelson celebrated the teacher-leaders for their vision and commitment to innovative education. Frank Vastola of Steelcase Education joined the ribbon-cutting, along with the Banko Family of Banko Overhead Doors. Tami and Nick Banko have two sons who attend Shorecrest.

In addition, Shorecrest was pleased to welcome a number of esteemed guests to the event including, Mayor Rick Kriseman; Leah McRae, Mayor’s Office Director of Education and Community Engagement; Jessica Eilerman, Mayor’s Small Business Liaison; Chris Steinocher, President of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Jim Connolly, Director of Workforce & Professional Development for St. Petersburg College and Chamber of Commerce Board Member.

“The love you feel in this community and the love you feel in this room and this campus is something pretty special in St. Pete right now, we’re seeing it everywhere we go,” Chris Steinocher remarked prior to the ribbon-cutting.

“Congratulations to everyone here at Shorecrest first on your important designation as an Apple Distinguished School and on this innovation and design suite,” Mayor Kriseman offered. “This is great news for this school and even better news for the students at this school. I cannot wait to see what the students do with this cutting-edge technology.”

Over the next two years, Steelcase Education and Shorecrest will partner together to conduct assessments and research on the impact of the newly designed space.
Photo ID:
Front Row L-R: Mike Murphy, Colleen Vastola, Frank Vastola, Dr. Anna Baralt, Cindy Williams, Christine Scoby, Mayor Rick Kriseman, Chris Steinocher, Tami Banko and Elizabeth Samuelson.
Back Row L-R: Jonathan Davis, Dr. Jim Connolly, Leah McRae, Kole Banko, Jett Banko and Nick Banko.


5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.