School Board Approves New Administrators – June 14, 2021
The Okaloosa County School Board approved the following new administrators at the June 14, 2021, School Board Meeting: Grant Meyer, Director 1 Operational Services; Andy Thigpen, Choctawhatchee High School Athletic Director; Ryan Lanpher, Choctawhatchee High School Assistant Principal 1; Jennifer Lewis, Shalimar Elementary School Assistant Principal II; and Dawn Johnson, Elliott Point Elementary School Assistant Principal II.
Grant Meyer – Director 1 – Operational Services
Grant Meyer began his career in education here in Okaloosa County as a high school teacher and coach. He has had the opportunity to teach at the high school and middle school levels. In 2006, he was appointed Assistant Principal at his high school alma mater, Niceville High School. Meyer then moved to Pryor Middle School as Principal and for the last 5 years has been the Principal at Destin Middle School.
Meyer is committed to the success of all students and supports educators throughout Okaloosa County. He has been over Facilities and Maintenance at multiple schools and worked through many construction projects during his tenure as a principal. He holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from The University of West Florida. Meyer is married to his wife Amy, who is also an administrator in Okaloosa County. They have two grown sons, Hayden and Harley.
Andy Thigpen – Choctawhatchee High School Athletic Director
Andy Thigpen is a proud product of Okaloosa County Schools. He attended Mary Esther Elementary, Bruner Middle School, and graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School. During his high school athletic career, Thigpen played football, basketball, and baseball. He attended Northwest Florida State College where he earned his Associate of Arts degree and then transferred to Point University in West Point, Georgia to continue his education and pursue his dream of playing college basketball. While at Point University, Thigpen was a member of two Regional Championship teams, on a National Runner-up team, and a National Championship team. He also earned two All-Conference selections, a Conference Player of the Year recognition, and an All-American award. Thigpen earned a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Biblical Studies. Upon graduation he decided to come back home to help run the family business. After several years working with the family business, he decided to pursue his passions: education and sports>
Thigpen began his career in education 13 years ago at Choctawhatchee High School as a math teacher and assistant basketball coach under Marc Tisza. This past season marked his tenth season as the head boys’ basketball coach at Choctawhatchee High School. As head coach, Thigpen has accumulated a record of 217 wins and 75 loses, his teams have made nine playoff appearances, won five District Championships, made six Sweet 16 appearances, three Elite 8 appearances, won two Regional Championships, made two Final Four appearances, and was the State Runner-up twice.
Thigpen has been married to Sharon for 17 years, and they have two daughters; Addison, will be a seventh grader at Pryor Middle School and Avery, will be a sixth grader at Pryor Middle School next school year.
Ryan Lanpher – Choctawhatchee High School – Assistant Principal 1 12 month
Ryan Lanpher, originally from Blue Springs, Missouri, moved to Okaloosa County in 2012 and has been a part of Choctawhatchee High School ever since. Lanpher previously earned his bachelor’s degree in English Education at Peru State College, located in Nebraska, where he also finished his baseball career before becoming a graduate assistant. Upon his move to Florida, he was fortunate enough to join the Choctawhatchee High School family as an English teacher and spent seven years in the classroom while also serving as the head baseball coach.
Lanpher’s time and experience in the classroom inspired him to pursue a future in administration. He has continued to follow the path of a lifelong learner by completing his master’s degree in Educational Leadership from American College of Education in 2018. The following year, Lanpher stepped away from the classroom and baseball field to follow his aspirations to become a school administrator and has spent the last two years as the 10-Month Assistant Principal for Choctawhatchee High School.
Lanpher and his wife, Erin, have been married for four years; they have a beautiful daughter, Ava Grace, who is two years old and are expecting their second child, Camden, any day now. He is extremely excited for the challenge and opportunity to continue his career as a Big Green Indian and looks forward to growing as an instructional leader and serving as a member of the administration team for Choctawhatchee High School.
Jennifer Lewis – Shalimar Elementary School – Assistant Principal II
Jennifer Lewis is a proud product of Okaloosa County School District where she graduated from Choctawhatchee High School. Jennifer attended The University of West Florida where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her master’s degree in Education Leadership. She has been an educator for eighteen years and has been with the Okaloosa County School District for the last twelve years. Lewis began her career teaching in North Carolina where she taught kindergarten and first grade. She then moved to MacDill, AFB where she taught kindergarten, first, and second grades. In 2009, she moved back to the place she calls home, Okaloosa County, where she has resided ever since. Jennifer has been at Shalimar Elementary for 9 years and has been Grade Level Chair, a model classroom, and School Advisory Council (SAC) President. She currently serves as the Title English Language Arts (ELA) Remediation teacher.
Lewis is dedicated to being a lifelong learner and is excited to begin this new journey as an instructional leader. She feels very fortunate to be able to continually grow as an educational leader under the guidance of Shalimar Principal, Kim McSparren. Jennifer is married to Rodney Lewis, and they have two beautiful daughters, 15-year-old, Kaylynn Sirney, a freshman at Niceville High School and 13-year-old, Londyn Lewis, a 7th grader at Ruckel Middle School. She feels honored to be recommended as the Assistant Principal at Shalimar Elementary.
Dawn Johnson – Elliott Point Elementary School Assistant Principal II
Dawn Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology from Fayetteville State University. A military move brought her family to Florida where she began her educational career in the Okaloosa County School District in 2009. She taught Kindergarten at Longwood Elementary School for five years before transferring to Florosa Elementary School where she has taught kindergarten, first grade, third grade, and fifth grade. She was selected by her peers as teacher of year at both Longwood and Florosa. In 2017 she was recognized as a top 3 finalist for Okaloosa County Teacher of the Year.
Johnson has served on a variety of committees at both the district and school level. Her teaching methods provided the opportunity for others to observe her and her students as an OCSD model classroom. After obtaining her reading and gifted endorsements she knew it was time to pursue her dream of being a school leader. She earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida in 2018. She is the mother of two children Heather and Ryan. She also has one grandson, Rory. Her philosophy and strong belief is in a growth mindset. She recognizes that it encourages and allows students and teachers to take risks, seek feedback, learn from their mistakes, become motivated to face challenges head on, and put forth the effort to succeed.