Picture of the 2018 TOY Finalist

Andrea Brown, Baker School, Named Okaloosa County School District Teacher of the Year

Andrea Brown, Baker School, was named the Okaloosa County School District’s Teacher of the Year Thursday night at the Teacher of the Year Banquet.  Along with all of the School Teacher of the Year winners, Susan Zant, Choctawhatchee High School and Dawn Johnson, Florosa Elementary School, were recognized as one of the top three finalists for this prestigious award.

(Pictured above from left to right: Dawn Johnson, Florosa ES, Andrea Brown, Baker School, and Susan Zant, Choctawhatchee HS.)

“To be nominated as your school’s Teacher of the Year, is perhaps one of the greatest honors in our profession,” said Angelique Cox, OCEA President.  “It isn’t based on how well you can write a lesson plan, how many points you can earn on a rubric. Instead this honor is bestowed upon you by your peers.  Those who see you with your students every day. The ones who see you in the classroom, the hallway, the teacher’s lounge, or in department or team meetings. Your peers see the measurable assets of teaching in your everyday. They see your passion for students and their education and your tireless efforts to positively impact your students’ lives. They see your rapport with students and families and the school community and the very heart and soul of what it takes to make us educators.”

Cox went on to thank this year’s Banquet Committee: Karen Ott and Missie Sykes, and Cedric Peterson, Banquet Committee; Eric Mitchell and Brandon McSween, Slideshow Presentation; Pat Mixon, Program Design; and Stephanie Cyr, Cover Photo.  She also thanked the 2018 Teacher of the Year selection committee included Alyson Lofe’, Chair, Bluewater ES; Dr. Lamar White, Okaloosa County School Board Member; Norma Eliason, Bruner MS; Linda Peaden, Baker School; and Charlotte Wadsworth, Baker School and 2017 Teacher of the Year.

Superintendent of Schools, Mary Beth Jackson, opened her remarks by stating that she never gets nervous before speaking to a large group but that she had a knot in her stomach all day long.  “I realize there are so many of you here who get it your best every day. I can’t say words that will tell you how much that means but I can tell you this – I have been to visit many, many classrooms over the last few weeks, you never cease to amaze me. I just wish that I could have been a teacher that so many of you are. Thank you so much for what you do!”

Andrea Brown, Baker School, 2018 Teacher of the Year

Andrea began her educational teaching journey at Baker School in 1998 and remained there for 18 years. In the last three years, she has been a Title One Remediation Teacher for both math and reading. In addition, she serves on the Homecoming Committee, teaches with the Aspire after school program as well as Okaloosa Online.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of West Florida and has her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University. She is also a National Board Certified teacher.  “I enjoy working with children and helping them reach their educational goals,” said Brown.  “Teaching at Baker School has been a blessing due to the community atmosphere as well as the fact it is my alma mater.  I can’t imagine a more rewarding career.”

Picture of Andrea Brown, Baker School, Teacher of the Year

Susan Zant, Choctawhatchee High School, Runner-Up

Susan comes from a family of educators.  Except for a handful of years, a member of her family has been a Florida educator since 1900.  “The best lesson I have learned from these educators is to love students where they are, despite the situation, a student needs to feel that he or she is loved and appreciated,” said Zant.  “The value of teaching is not just the curriculum, but is the engagement with students and parents on a personal level.  Relationships are lasting; sometimes more important than a lesson on a given day.  I owe my love and respect for our county’s history to two former teachers, Ms. Joyce Miller and Dr. Michael Gannon.  They taught me how, as a history teacher, to explain our country’s history as a story, weaving in the parts of life that make historical figures seem real and to come alive to students.  For the last twenty-eight years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to help students see history in their everyday lives.  Being able to do this motivates me daily.”

Picture of Susan Zant - Choctaw HS

Dawn Johnson, Florosa Elementary School, Runner-Up

As the mother of two beautiful children, Heather and Ryan, Dawn was inspired to teach because of the time she spent volunteering at her children’s schools. “When I took my first step into my own classroom, I knew I was where I needed to be,” said Johnson.  “I am a firm believer of the growth mindset.  The power of ‘yet’ inspires children to not give up on themselves.”  As Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”  This is a belief that Dawn not only instills in her students, but practices herself.  “As a lifelong learner, I will begin my master’s program in Ed. Leadership this summer.  Experiences in life put us where we need to be and I believe that I’m right where I belong, in the trenches of the classroom, at Florosa Elementary working with and encouraging children.  This is my ‘happy place!’”

Picture of Dawn Johnson - Florosa

Teacher of the Year Selection Process

The selection of the Teacher of the Year actually began in the fall of 2017 when each school announced its honoree.  In December, each school’s Teacher of the year submitted a portfolio that included a detailed resume, responses to questions about their teaching philosophy and practice, and comments about the teaching profession.  Finalists were announced by the selection committee in January 2017, and committee members visited their classroom to observe them in action before selecting the winner that was announced at the Teacher of the Year Banquet.

Okaloosa County’s Teacher of the Year will compete with teachers from 71 public school districts and other institutions in Florida for the state’s top honor.  As our district’s winner, Andrea Brown will participate in the Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Roundtable and the Macy’s Gala Awards Ceremony in July when the state winner will be announced.

Banquet Sponsors

The Teacher of the Year Banquet was held at the Emerald Coast Convention Center as was hosted by the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  Special thanks were given to banquet sponsors: ZT Motors, TelaForce, American Elite Molding, Okaloosa County School District, Gulf Power, CRI Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, First City Bank, Eglin Federal Credit Union, Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, Wyndham Garden Hotels, Bruner Law Firm, Arby’s, CareerSource Florida, Florida’s Great Northwest, Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone, Costa Enterprises, The Palms of Destin, Northwest Florida Track Club, Mach 1 Detailing, Okaloosa County Education Association, and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.

To see a complete photo gallery of this event, please visit the OCSD Facebook Page.

Congratulations to all of the School Teachers of the Year:

Antioch ES – Suzanne Bass

Suzanne received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of West Florida.  She has served in Okaloosa County for 29 years and is honored to be one of the dedicated dozen that have taught at Antioch Elementary School since it opened twenty years ago. She presently serves on Antioch’s Leadership Committee, is a Clinical Educator and a mentor to a beginning teacher.  Her goal as a kindergarten teacher of 19 years is to foster a love for learning and to help all her students to ‘Navigate Beyond Their Horizons’ as she strives to do the same.

Picture of Suzanne Bass - Antioch ESBallet Academie – Mike Crane

Like many others, Mike was a military kid, and thus a transplant to the area.  He moved here in 1995, and started at Mary Esther Elementary.  He then progressed through Burner and FWBHS.  He graduated with a BA in Philosophy from UWF, and took up shift work and substitute teaching.  He was offered a permanent sub position at NWF Ballet, which ignited his love for education. He worked through the Alternative Certification Program while teaching during the day and going to school at night to earn his Professional Certificate.  He loves his NWF Ballet family, and is proud to serve his community.

Picture of Mike Crane - NWF BalletBluewater ES – Lauren Brown

Lauren Brown is a 5th grade teacher at Bluewater Elementary.  She started her teaching career at Bluewater 13 years ago.  As a Language Arts teacher, Lauren enjoys sharing her love of reading with her students. She is also passionate about American History, teaching her students history mainly through literature. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Florida State University.  She is currently pursuing her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at University of West Florida.  Lauren enjoys traveling with her husband Max and two sons, Miles 8, and Elliott, 3.

Picture of Lauren Brown - BluewaterBob Sikes ES – Elizabeth Irby

Elizabeth was born and raised in Crestview, Florida.  She received her degree in Elementary Ed. from FSU and is currently in her tenth year of teaching.  Elizabeth teaches 4th and 5th grade math and science. Her goal is to help her students not only gain the self-confidence needed to be successful in their academic future, but also to be good citizens & leaders. She would like to thank her husband Clint, their 3 year old daughter, Olivia, and a baby girl which arrived earlier this month.  She could not do it without their love, support, and patience.  Elizabeth would like to thank her Bob Sikes family and she is honored to represent them.Picture of Elizabeth Irby - Bob SIkes ESBruner MS – Lynn Lancaster

Lynn is a 3rd generation educator.  She teaches ESE-Varying Exceptionalities for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.  She is a military brat who calls Ft. Walton Beach her home. She is a product of the Okaloosa County School System, having attended Kenwood Elementary, Pryor Junior High School, and Choctawhatchee High School.  She has 3 degrees: a BS degree in Special Education from the University of West Florida, a master’s degree in Educational Administration, and a doctoral degree in Education Leadership, both from Northern Arizona University.  She has taught Kindergarten through 12th grade in special education and college classes for undergraduates in special education.  She says, “Thanks and GO NOLES!”

Picture of Lynn Lancaster - Bruner MSCrestview HS – Tammy McKenzie

Dr. McKenzie is the Health Occupation Instructor at Crestview High School.  She is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with over 20 years of experience as an orthopedic physical therapist.  She is thrilled with the growth of the Allied Health program, which is certifying students in CPR and as Emergency Medical Responders, as well as providing internship experiences in area medical facilities.  Dr. McKenzie has been happily married to her college sweetheart, Mark, for 25 years.  They have 2 children:  Jacob, who is a Firefighter/EMT and Madeline, who is an aspiring marine biologist.

Picture of Tammy McKenzie - Crestview HSDavidson MS – James Patrick Humphrey

As a Social Studies teacher, Patrick has accepted the challenges of the classroom with the enthusiasm to do whatever it takes to make students succeed.  He has organized and implemented many field trips through the years, taking students as far away as Washington, DC for experiences outside the classroom.  As head coach, his soccer team won the county championship in 2005.  In 2008, he was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the Crestview chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  He is VERY grateful to accept tonight's award in honor of the teachers at Davidson Middle School.

Picture of James Patrick Humphrey - Davdison MSDestin ES – Amy Vest

Amy grew up in Niceville and is proud to be a product of Okaloosa County Schools.  This year marks her 14th year of teaching and she recently earned a second master's degree in Educational Leadership from UWF.  She was inspired by numerous teachers in her life, especially her grandmother who taught for 39 years in rural Arkansas.  Amy strives to meet the needs of her students by creating a family-like classroom environment focused on learning.  As a future educational leader she believes that building trusting relationships and valuing teachers is at the heart of student achievement and success.

Picture of Amy Vest - Destin ESDestin MS – Joyce Pool

Joyce earned her bachelor’s degree in SLD and Elementary Education from the University of West Florida and a master’s degree in SLD from Nova University.  After teaching SLD students for 20+ years, she transitioned into teaching 6th grade math.  She has a life-long passion for teaching.  Her desire is to help struggling students be successful academically.  She wants her students to know that her classroom is a safe environment in which they can ask questions and learn.  She strives for mutual respect.  She wants students to know that she believes in them and that they can overcome any obstacles they are facing in order to be successful in life.

Picture of Joyce Pool - Destin MSEdge ES – Joan Dermody

Joan Dermody has taught in the Okaloosa School District for 10 years.  She is a third grade teacher at Edge Elementary and is excited to be in her third year there.  Over her 18 year teaching career, she has taught in a variety of settings.  She has had the opportunity to teach Pre-K 4 year old children through 5th grade, she has worked as an aide in a special education classroom, and later worked as an aide in an ESE room for children with moderate to severe disabilities.  Dermody would like to thank her principal, Dr. Samantha Dawson and the wonderful faculty at Edge Elementary for this honor.

Picture of Joan Dermody - Edge ESEdwins ES – Shalyce Klimetz

Shalyce is proud to be a product of the Okaloosa County School District.  She attended Edwins, Bruner, and Ft. Walton Beach High School.  Go Vikes!  Having grown up in a very musical family, she knew early on that she would do something related to music.  In 2nd grade she was asked what she wanted to be and her answer was "a music teacher!"  She loves that she is in her 12th year where my dream began!  Music at Edwins stretches across the curriculum board, from sight words, alphabet and counting in Kindergarten to fractions and the science of sound in 5th grade.  She believes that every child has a song in their heart and she is here to help them find and express it.

Picture of Shalyce Klimetz - Edwins ESEglin ES – David Wilson

David Wilson was born in Macon, Georgia and was educated in Bibb County Public Schools.  At the age of 20, he met his wife, Bunny, and knew he couldn’t live without her.  With no job and precious little prospects he convinced her to marry him.  They have been married for 43 years and look forward to many more.  They have 2 sons, Adam and Sean, amazing daughters in law, Shonda and Chelsea, and their grandson Aiden- Mr. Awesome!  David graduated from Mercer University in Macon.  He holds a Masters in Ministry Leadership and teaches 3rd grade at Eglin Elementary.  He also serves as Pastor of New Hope Baptist in Valparaiso.

Picture of David Wilson - Eglin ESElliott Point ES – Mary Beth Mayes

Mary Beth’s educational career began at Elliott Point in Mrs. Peggy Bruner’s first grade class.  She began her college experience at Troy State University.  After 11 years and 5 colleges, she took time out to join the NAVY and graduated with honors from the University of West Florida.  She began teaching 5th grade at “The Point.”  After 11 years she was transferred to the ESE building to teach a 3rd through 5th grade VE class.  She was nervous at first, but found that she had a passion for teaching these wonderful students.  They have taught her so much over the past years!  She feels truly blessed to work with amazing people and is honored to represent Elliott Point Elementary. 

Picture of Mary Beth Mayes - Elliott Point ESFort Walton Beach HS – Susan Teare

Susan started this journey nearly 37 years ago at an inner city school in Houston.  She continued at Pryor Middle School as a reading specialist and geography teacher.  She currently teaches freshman English at FWBHS.  Along the way, the yearbook has been the one constant throughout her career.  These books, totaling over 7,000 pages, celebrate the achievements of our students and the day-to-day routines of a typical year.  They are a lasting legacy.  When it’s not deadline time, she enjoys hanging out with her horse, reading, and spending time with her dogs…and family.

Picture of Susan Teare - FWBHSKenwood ES – Janet Strahan

This year marks Janet Strahan’s fourth year teaching fifth grade at Kenwood Elementary.  She graduated from the University of Texas, El Paso, with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, and has been teaching for twenty years. She says it is a blessing to wake up every morning knowing that her day will be filled with joy, laughter and the chance to make a difference in a child’s life.  She absolutely loves teaching 5th grade, and she truly believes that this is God’s plan for her life. She is honored and thankful to have been nominated for Teacher of the Year by her staff members whom she respects and admires.

Picture of Janet Strahan - Kenwood ESLaurel Hill School – Chana Brooks

Chana married her best friend, David, in June and they reside in Baker with their 4 children. After graduation, she began teaching at Montessori and substitute teaching.  Supported by her amazing parents, she worked in the school system until she was hired as a 3rd grade teacher @ Northwood in 2001.  In 2006, she transferred to Laurel Hill to teach 3rd grade.  After teaching 1st grade, she quickly decided 3rd grade had her heart!  Her favorite part of teaching is when a student explains how to solve a problem using proper vocab with confidence!  She teaches because she enjoys helping others.  The rewards are incredible!    

Picture of Chana Brooks - Laurel Hill School Lewis School – Kelly Yates

Kelly Yates is a proud teacher, mother, Army brat and Air Force spouse.  The youngest of 3 girls, born to Colonel George and Debbie Teague, she learned to make an impression everywhere they moved.  She grew up around the world and met her husband, John, in middle school in Germany.  She has been teaching for 9 years, and this is her 2nd year teaching 6th grade math at Lewis.  She coaches the Academic Team and is proud to take them back to Nationals in May.  In her free time (usually midnight to 4 am) she enjoys cooking, reading, snuggling with her dog, and spending time with friends and family, especially her children Harper and Oliver.  GO FALCONS!

Picture of Kelly Yates - Lewis SchoolLongwood ES – Tina Maguhn

Tina is a product of Okaloosa County Schools.  She attended Edwins, Bruner, and Fort Walton Beach High School.  After graduating summa cum laude from the University of West Florida, she began teaching in Orlando.  There, she taught for 15 years.  She then moved back to FWB with her husband, Andrew, and two children, Addysn and Tyler, to be closer to family.  She joined Longwood as a 2nd grade teacher.  This is her 18th year of teaching, with experience in K, 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade.  She has her gifted endorsement and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She is also part of the county's Writing Group.

Picture of Tina Maguhn - Longwood ESMary Esther ES – Valene Keesee

This is Valene’s 7th year at Mary Esther Elementary.  She has known from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher.  She is a product of Okaloosa County.  She went to Elementary School at Combs New Heights, Middle School at Bruner, and High School at Fort Walton, where she graduated in 2005.  She went straight into college to start her Education degree after high school. She attended OWC and UWF where she graduated in 2009.  After subbing for a little bit, she was hired at Mary Esther as an associate teacher.  Her second year she was on her own and has been ever since.  She can’t imagine doing anything else. She truly loves her job!

Picture of Valene Keesee - Mary Esther ESMeigs MS – Heather Oldnettle

Heather Oldnettle teaches 7th grade math at Meigs.  She began teaching in 1992, teaching Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.  Over the years, she developed a passion for working with struggling math students while teaching in an Elementary Title 1 Math program.  Heather brought that passion to Meigs during the 2013-2014 school year when she was given the opportunity to teach Intensive Math to 6th-8th grade students.  Heather loves working with the students, faculty, and staff at Meigs.  She has been blessed to be a part of the Meigs family since 2006 as a parent and now a teacher.

Picture of Heather Oldnettle - MeigsNiceville HS – Gordon Rahmes

Gordon Rahmes is in his 19th year of teaching, all at Niceville High School.  This is the 2nd time that he has represented Niceville as Teacher of the Year.  He won back in 2003 as well.  He currently teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History, Advanced Placement Macroeconomics, and Advanced Placement Microeconomics.  He was department chair for social studies for 10 years from 2005-2015 and was also head freshman football coach for 13 years from 2002 until 2015.  Rahmes would like to thank Principal Charles Marello and the awesome faculty and staff at Niceville for this award.

Picture of Gordon Rahmes - Niceville HSNorthwood ES – Ashlee Van Dyke

Ashlee is currently in her 6th year of teaching at Northwood Arts and Science Academy.  Her main goal as an educator is to implement meaningful, engaging, and powerful learning experiences that will provide students with the knowledge they need to grow as accomplished young learners.  She is the proud wife to Kevin Van Dyke and mother to Kellee and Ethan.  She is grateful to all her family and friends who have influenced her life and teaching, in such a positive light.  Ashlee is truly thankful, humbled, and honored to represent Northwood as their Teacher of the Year.

Picture of Ashlee Van Dyke - Northwood ESOTC and Choice HS – Beverly Wilson

Beverly has been teaching since 1983 in the areas of ESE, Health and PE.  She also coached various high school sports throughout the years. Beverly presently teaches Career Experiences at CHOICE.  She has been a coach/volunteer with Special Olympics for 33 years and has also served as co-coordinator for Okaloosa County.  She has developed the We GROW program which is a vocational training program with emphasis on meeting the needs of students with disabilities.  This program offers in-school certifications in the areas of Lawn Maintenance, Housekeeping, Custodial Services, Greenhouse Services and Automobile Detailing.

Picture of Beverly WIlson - OTCPlew ES – Kim Wendt

Kim has been in involved in education for the past 13 years, all at Plew Elementary.  She began as an AmeriCorps Reading Tutor and eventually became a teacher.  She has taught in the classroom for 10 years; 1 year in first grade and the remainder in Kindergarten.  Kim feels blessed to go to work each day at her school.  Plew is a dream come true! She is surrounded by fantastic teachers, wonderful families and students who always put a smile on her face. Kindergarten is truly a magical place! She would like to thank her husband and 3 sons for their love and support, as well as the amazing faculty and staff of Plew Elementary.

Picture of Kim Wendt- Plew ESPryor MS – Pamela Summers

Pam is proud to be part of the crew of the Pryor Middle School Pirate Ship, where she teaches Honors Algebra and Advanced 7th Grade Math. She is the Math Department Chair, a member of the School Leadership Team, SAC and cosponsor of the MathCounts team.  She has taught for 17 years in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida and earned National Board Certification in 2008.  She also worked for FSU on the Math Formative Assessment System for Algebra and Geometry.  She is married to Sean Summers and has two children, Jake, a recent graduate of LSU and Paige, a senior at Fort Walton Beach High School.

Picture of Pamela Summers - Pryor MSRichbourg School – Cindy Brunson

When Danny and Cindy's oldest child started at Baker, Cindy got involved through volunteering. By the time their youngest started kindergarten, Cindy decided to be a teacher herself.  She has earned a Master's in Guidance Counseling and is also certified in ESE, Elementary Education, Pre-K, and ESOL.  Cindy has enjoyed her career at Baker, Best Chance, and various Okaloosa County schools before being privileged to join the Richbourg family.  On-the-job training was emphasized at Baker and at Richbourg.  She says, "The kids are so enthusiastic!" When asked at VBS what her dream job would be, Cindy replied, "I think I'm doing it!"

Picture of Cindy Brunson - Richbourg SchoolRiverside ES – Terry Barnes

Terry is honored to be chosen to represent Riverside, where she has been blessed to work with some of the most amazing educators.  In the last 24 years of her career, she has had the privilege to teach in Tallahassee, Baker School, Okaloosa Youth Detention Center, Southside and now Riverside Elementary.  Now, as a part of the Title 1 Team, she has seen how the program has evolved in the past few years, and it has been an amazing experience to be a part of this growth and change.  As a Title 1 Reading Teacher, she says she is still helping students in fulfilling their passion, as she is fulfilling hers.

Picture of Terry Barnes - Riverside ESRuckel MS – Penny Parmer

Penny Parmer realized her dream twenty years ago when she moved to the sunny beaches of Florida from the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta.  Along with her happy disposition, she brought with her lots of southern charm and a desire to leave the world a better place than she found it.  She is an avid reader, who enjoys sci-fi movies and loves to take strolls on the beach. When she is not spending time with family, she can be found playing in her flower garden, reading a book or lounging in the pool.  If she was not teaching, she would have her own flower shop.

Picture of Penny Parmer - Ruckel MSShalimar ES – Suellen Solyntjes

Being her 40th year of teaching, Suellen considers representing Shalimar Elementary as their TOY is a prestigious honor.  The faculty and staff are extremely dedicated to the idea that all students can learn and achieve.  This has made her work as the SLD teacher a pleasure.  Suellen says she has never served students in isolation, for without the commitment of the dedicated teachers and the involvement of the families, her teaching would not have been successful at crafting an environment where we are all learners and contributing members of society.  Capture the teachable moments and celebrate the joy of everyday successes!

Picture of Suellen Solyntjes - Shalimar ESShoal River MS – Ryan Gillis

"Do something you love and you'll never have to work a day in your whole life." This statement sums up what Ryan gets to do every day.  He loves working with and coaching students whether in the weight room, the gym, or outside.  After graduating from the University of West Florida with a bachelor's degree in physical education, Ryan began working in January of 2000 as both a PE teacher and Coach at Richbourg Middle School.  While there and Shoal River, he has coached football, baseball, and girls' basketball.  His goal is to help kids become the best version of themselves.

Picture of Ryan Gillis - Shoal River MSSilver Sands School – Margaret Wolthers

Margaret Wolthers started working in the School System in 2001 as a SED classroom therapist. Wanting to do more, she became an assistant and then a teacher in EH/EBD classrooms.  In 2004, she began Shalimar Elementary’ s first EH/ EBD unit. In 2014, she received her dream job to teach at Silver Sands School.  She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from University of West Florida and Master’s Degree from Troy State University.  Wolthers is a dedicated educator who believes every student should receive the best education, regardless of their challenges.

Picture of Margaret Wolthers - Silver Sands SchoolSouthside Primary School – Kaleigh Goss

Kaleigh is proud to be a Southside Primary Tiger, teaching kindergarten and first grade math, science, and social studies.  Her teaching profession started as a dream and has now become her passion.  She is now a fourth year educator who seeks out every day with a drive to mold and shape the future of our youth.  Kaleigh feels that it is a great honor to be nominated as Teacher of the Year and represent the finest group of teachers in our county from Southside Primary School. 

Picture of Kaleigh Goss - Southside Primary School STEMM Academy – Timothy Flynn

A graduate of the University of Florida, Timothy Flynn started working as an ESE Paraprofessional at A. Quinn Jones Center in Gainesville, Florida.  Three years later, he accepted a job at the Okaloosa STEMM Academy and loves his job and the students.  He is the school sponsor to the Odyssey of the Mind program, a district co-coordinator for the National History Day, a coach for Speech and Debate, and one of the organizers of STEMM’s NaNoWrimo 2016. He also teaches Advanced World History, creating an environment where history can come alive.  He challenges his students to always “Be Brilliant!”

Picture of Timothy Flynn - STEMMWalker ES – Jennifer Constantine

Jennifer has been married to her wonderful husband Doug for 8 years.  They have two 14 year old children, Hannah and Dylan, who keep them extremely busy and on their toes.  Her calling to become a teacher came at the young age of 8 years old.  She was diagnosed with a learning disability, which she now realizes is what guided her path from the general education classroom of 14 years, to her true passion in the VE classroom.  She shares her story in hopes that it will encourage her students to see that things are not often easy.  But with persistence and dedication, success is an option!

Picture of Jennifer Constantine - Walker ESWright ES – Shannon DeBerry

Shannon is a product of Okaloosa County Schools.  She attended Edwins Elementary, Bruner Junior High, and graduated from Ft. Walton Beach High School.  After receiving her education degree at the University of South Alabama, Shannon returned to Okaloosa County many years ago and began teaching at Combs New Heights.  Upon its closure, she was invited to join the Wright Elementary family.  Shannon began her career as an exceptional education teacher, taught 4th grade, and K-2 language arts.  She is currently an ELA teacher for the best first graders in the county.  Go Dolphins!

Picture of Shannon DeBerry - Wright ES