School Board Approves New School Administrators

The Okaloosa County School Board approved the following new administrators at the August 12, 2019, School Board Meeting: Dr. William (Bill) Smith, Program Director, Facilities and Plant Planning; Amy Bowles, Program Director, Exceptional Student Education (ESE); Victoria Hurley, Baker School Assistant Principal I; and Laura King, Plew Elementary School Assistant Principal II.

Dr. William E. (Bill) Smith - Program Director, Facilities and Plant Planning

Dr. William E. (Bill) Smith - Program Director, Facilities and Plant Planning

Dr. Bill Smith holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Facilities Planning from the University of West Florida; an Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum and Supervision from UWF; a Master’s of Science in Health and Physical Education from the University of Southern Mississippi; and a Bachelor’s of Science in Health and Physical Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He holds a Florida Teacher Certificate in Health Physical Education, Drivers Education, and School Principal. In addition, Dr. Smith holds licenses in Florida Building Code Administration, is a Florida Registered General Contractor and a Florida Uniform Building Code Inspector.

Dr. Smith has a broad-based educational background with experience in the classroom and as an administrative intern, as well as significant experience as a personal builder-developer and manager. He has a strong record of cost-effective operations management, as well as a demonstrated ability in facility repair, renovation, construction, maintenance, and landscape services. He has proven skill in budget preparation and large staff supervision and training and extensive knowledge of State and Federal building, construction, health and safety codes, and regulations.

Dr. Smith’s knowledge of facilities planning and extensive educational administration experience in facilities maintenance and new construction has earned him state-wide recognition. He has held numerous offices in the Florida Education Facilities Planner’s Association, including two terms as President of that organization.

Not only involved in school business, but Dr. Smith has also been very active in our local community, as well. He has served as a city council member for the city of Niceville and as the Mayor Pro Tem; he served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Board, he was the Director of Growth Management for Okaloosa County, was on the Air Force Environmental RAB Co-Chair with General Cranston. He attends First Baptist Church of Niceville.

While he was President of Heritage Homebuilders, he managed the engineering, construction, and development of the Bluewater Bay Resort and Residential Condominiums and established building & appearance standards for the building industry in resort development. He was the Senior Vice-President of Maritime Construction Co., Inc. (Florida Division).

He has been a local business owner of several successful businesses, including Tatro’s Cabinet Shop, The Crosswinds Group, Design Associates, Baybreeze Development Inc., Dolphin Cay Realty, and Heritage Homebuilders. While in the home-building business, he won numerous awards, such as the Parade of Homes, Who’s Who of the Gulf Coast, H.O.W. Distinguished Builder Award, and more.

Dr. Smith is part of an extended educator family! He is married to Dr. Diane Kelley, Okaloosa County Retired School Administrator and School Board member. His son is Dr. Ryan J Smith, a Principal Solutions Architect for Berkshire Grey in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Kristin Kelley Rizzo, his step-daughter, is a Podiatric Surgeon at the Orlando VA Medical Center in Orlando, Florida. His sister, Janeane Williams, is a retired school principal from our county, and both parents--- his mother, Cecile Smith was a retired teacher & media specialist, at Ruckel Middle School, and his dad, William “Jay” Smith was a retired Driver’s Ed Teacher at Niceville High School.

Amy Bowles - Program Director, Exceptional Student Education

Amy Bowles - Program Director, Exceptional Student Education

Amy Bowles has been an educator in the Okaloosa County School District for the past 22 years and has spent the last 5 years working as the Assistant Principal at Northwood Elementary School in Crestview, Florida. Northwood Elementary School is the home for seven CBS classrooms that specialize in teaching students with Autism and other spectrum-related disabilities in how to communicate, socialize and control their behavior in different school situations.

Bowles is certified by the State of Florida in Varying Exceptionalities K-12, Elementary Education grades 1st-6th, English Language Learner (ELL) grades K-12, Educational Leadership and School Principal, all levels. She started her teaching career at Valparaiso Elementary School in August of 1997 teaching students in Kindergarten through 5th grade with Varying Exceptionalities for two years, followed by seven years teaching students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in one of the first five CBS (Communication, Behavior, and Socialization) classrooms in the Okaloosa County School District.

During her time as an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher she was trained by Dr. Patrick McGreevy in Applied Behavior Analysis Techniques that would be used in the classroom setting with all of her students. These techniques created the much-needed voice for her students who were unable to communicate easily their own needs and wants on a day to day basis.

Bowles also attended the Baudhuin School of Autism Institutes in South Florida on how to use Visual Picture Schedules, Social Stories, Picture Exchange Communication Systems, and Appropriate Classroom Set-ups for different levels of Exceptional Student Education classrooms. She has and continues to partner with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) in order to implement support for parents in the home and in the classroom through CARD’s continued partnership with Okaloosa County’s ESE teachers.

In 2005 Amy and her husband, Tarrant, found out she was pregnant with twins, which in turn led to her decision to take her expertise in ESE education into a General Education 3rd Grade classroom where she taught for the next 4 years at Southside Elementary School. She then moved on to the 5th Grade for four years at Riverside Elementary School before moving into her Assistant Principal position at Northwood Elementary School where she has continued to support all students throughout the school.

Victoria Hurley – Baker School Assistant Principal I

Victoria Hurley – Baker School Assistant Principal I

Victoria Hurley is a proud product of the Okaloosa County School District. She is a Baker School graduate, who went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Troy University. Hurley began her teaching career in Pasco County before returning home to give back to the community she grew up in. She has taught at Pine View Middle School, Northwood Elementary School, Walker Elementary School, Baker School and served OCSD as an Instructional Coach. For over 16 years, Victoria taught a variety of classes with students ranging from third to tenth grade as well as participating in community and statewide projects. Since 2015, she has worked tirelessly on Baker Schools administrative team as an Assistant Principal II.

Among her accolades are the Governor’s Shine Award, 2015 Okaloosa County Teacher of the Year, Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year and Disney Environmentality Regional Winner. Hurley is a lifelong learner, always seeking improvements. She has earned a K-12 Reading Endorsement, NGCAR-PD Certification and completed Level 2 Principal Training.

Hurley credits her success to the support she has received from her family, friends, former teachers, and colleagues. She has been married 22 years to Drew Hurley, a Davidson Middle School Science Teacher. They have two children, Olivia Hurley who will be leaving for college in a few days and Stella Hurley who keeps them on the go as a three-sport athlete. Victoria has deep roots in the Baker community: her grandfather, parents, sister, and children all graduated from or are currently attending Baker School. While continuing at Baker School, she hopes to carry on the tradition of excellence by leading through sacrificial service to students, teachers, families, and the community that she calls home.

Laura King – Plew Elementary School Assistant Principal II

Laura King – Plew Elementary School Assistant Principal II

Laura King is originally from Jacksonville, North Carolina. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education in 2001 and began her teaching career teaching third and then second grade. Laura married her husband, Samuel King Jr. in 2004 and then moved to Eglin Air Force Base in 2005.

King has been fortunate to teach third, fourth, and fifth grades while working first at Oak Hill Elementary School, then Valparaiso Elementary School, and the last nine years at Riverside Elementary School. While still teaching at Riverside Elementary School she earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida in 2014. She has also earned her Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2016 and is currently pursuing her doctorate.

King and her husband just celebrated their 15th anniversary and have recently rescued two kittens, Tabbie and Tortie. She is very excited to become a Plew Panther and has already felt very welcomed by the Plew Elementary School faculty and staff. She is honored and feels very fortunate to be able to continually grow as an educational leader under the guidance of Tammy. Matz. She is appreciative of the continued support from family, friends, and her Riverside Elementary School family as she pursued the goal of becoming an Assistant Principal. She feels honored to be recommended as the Assistant Principal of Plew Elementary School.