Picture of the 2017 ESPY winner (Cater Gray) and runner-ups Theresa Fowler and Adron Robinson

Carter Gray, Transportation South, Named 2017 Education Support Professional of the Year

Education Support Professionals from all over the District came together on Friday, February 3rd, to be recognized at the Annual Educational Support Professional of the Year (ESPY) Breakfast hosted by the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.

Carter Gray, Transportation South, (pictured above in the middle) was named the Education Support Professional of the Year for the Okaloosa County School District. Adron Robinson, Niceville High School, was named first runner-up and Theresa Perry Fowler, Destin Elementary School, was the second runner-up.

Representative Mel Ponder was the guest speaker for the celebration and he opened by saying, “Our school district is very well respected throughout the State. I love days like today where you can give honor where honor is due.  I came today to congratulate you and to cheer for you.”

Carter Gray, Transportation South, Special Needs Bus Assistant – Educational Support Professional of the Year

Carter has a great disposition, and is friendly and outgoing with a great work ethic.  He is a wonderful role model and is very involved with the youth in our community.  He coaches youth basketball, and works with adults and youth who are developmentally delayed or dependent on drugs or alcohol.

Picture of Carter Gray, 2017 ESPY

Adron Robinson, STP Monitor and Coach, Niceville High School – First Runner-Up

A student at Niceville High School was assigned STP by the Dean of Students. After unsuccessful attempts by the Principal and Dean to get the student to the STP room, Coach Adron sat down beside him and talked to him.  After several minutes the student willingly got up and went to STP with Coach Adron, complied with all directives AND completed all his assigned work for the day.  Most importantly, this student has not been back in the discipline office since the incident.

Picture of Adron Robinson, 2017 ESPY Finalist

Theresa Fowler, Destin Elementary School – Second Runner-Up

Theresa Fowler would never tell you that something is “Not her job” whether she’s working with students, helping a teacher or manning a duty station; she is always pleasant and has a smile on her face.

Picture of Theresa Fowler, 2017 ESPY Finalist

The 2017 ESPY Committee was comprised of Juanita Payne-Galbreath, 2016 ESPY Winner, Patrick Strong, OCESPA President, Carol Ditmore, Southside Primary School Bookkeeper, Starla Lucas, Mary Esther Elementary School Bookkeeper, Val Moreland, Retired Classroom Assistant, and Linda Pigford, Retired School Bus Driver.

Special Thanks and Appreciation go to the following for their contributions to this year’s event:

  • American Elite Molding, Inc
  • Bruner Law Firm
  • CareerSource, Okaloosa-Walton
  • Corner Café, Bridget Spolski
  • Edible Arrangements
  • Jimmy Beavers – Beavers, Inc, dba, Arby’s
  • Niceville Community Center
  • Okaloosa County Educational Support Professional Association
  • Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation
  • School District Printing Services, Perry Rich and Staff
  • Telaforce
  • Waffle House
  • Wyndham Garden Hotel, FWB

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

Congratulations to all of this year's Individual School Education Support Professionals of the Year:

Jeanne Frazee, Antioch Elementary School, Lunch Monitor

Jeanne Frazee works hard to ensure sue is accommodating to students, parents, and teachers and takes responsibility for her lunchroom providing support and patience to her co-workers in her everyday job duties.

Picture of Jeanne Frazee, Antioch

Jennifer Motley-Miller, Baker School, Clerk

You can always count on Jennifer to rise to the occasion. While friendly, positive, and welcoming in her Front Office duties, she also has a big heart and will help reach out to provide items for students she knows are in need.

Picture of Jennifer Motley-Miller, Baker

Summer A. Phillips, Bay Area Office, Secretary, District

Summer never meets a stranger and makes an impression on everyone she meets. Despite all the demands she already faces, she has decide to return to college and pursue a degree in Accounting

Picture of Summer Phillips, BAO

Cheryl Patrick, Bluewater Elementary School, Bookkeeper

Cheryl has many essential tasks that keep Bluewater running smoothly.  She manages payroll, substitutes, supply orders, and monies collected for fifty classroom teachers, special areas and support personnel AND a very busy Day Care.  But after all of this, she still finds time to scrapbook, make special gifts for their regular substitutes and cheer on her beloved Auburn!

Picture of Cheryl Patrick, Bluewater

Renee C. Bowness, Bob Sikes Elementary School, CRA, ISS

Renee has the best interest of both the staff and student s at the forefront of her day.  While helping out at school with PTO and Title I events, she also takes times to conference with the students in her care about positive choices and outcomes.

Picture of Renee Bowness, Bob Sikes

Pam McDonald, Bruner Middle School, Media Assistant

For the last 43 years, Pam has remained dedicated to Bruner Middle School. She has consistent can-do attitude and is positive and optimistic when working with faculty and students. She developed and maintains the school’s Wednesday morning TV show, including recruiting students, and producing an informative, educational, and fun show.

Picture of Pam McDonald. Bruner

Jimmy Woodward, Carver Hill Complex, Custodian

Jimmy is truly a cherished member of the Carver Hill Complex and loved and appreciated by all.  He’s always there to lend a hand with heavy items or by staying late to ensure a parent and/or employees make it safely to their cars after a meeting runs past quitting time.

Picture of Jimmy Woodward, Carver Hill

Penny Clemmons, Choctaw High School, Secretary

Dr. Lee Hale accepted this award on behalf of Penny Clemmons.

Picture of Dr. Lee Hale on behalf of Penny Clemmons, Choctaw

Kelly Howell, CHOICE High School and Technical Center, Lead Custodian

Kelly’s response is always “Of course!” when asked to perform a task.  She is always there to make sure the school is presentable for special guests and occasions and is quick to create a game plan to get things down with situations arise.

Picture of Kelly Howell, CHOICE

Justin Paul, Crestview High School, Custodian

Justin is well liked by everyone at Crestview High School and he is a hard worker.  At the beginning of the year faculty meeting, when introduced, he received a large round of applause from all attendees as a heartfelt thank you for the wonderful job he does on a daily basis.

Picture of Justin Paul, Crestview

Janice M. Lawson, Davidson Middle School, Secretary

Janice is very patient with both students and parents when they call or come into the Discipline Office and is always professional in her behavior to fellow employees as well as her attitude towards her job.  She is capable of coming up with solution for problems as they arise and handles stressful situations with great east.  Her work ethic and devotion to the school and office is greatly appreciated.

Picture of Janice Lawson, Davidson

Suzanne Nichols, Destin Middle School, Secretary

In addition to being an avid movie buff and designing vinyl monograms in her spare time, Suzanne makes sure everything is in order for Faculty and Staff meetings and helps to provide Christmas gifts to students during the holidays.

Picture of Suzanne Nichols, Destin MS

Monica Larkins, Edge Elementary School, Custodian

Monica cares for the children at Edge Elementary School as she would her own, even long after they have left Edge.  Recently she helped some former students by selling hundreds of candy bars to help them fund their trip to the Rose Bowl Parade with the Niceville High School Band.

Picture of Monica Larkins, Edge

Carl Payne, Edwins Elementary School, CRA, ISS

When not busy with STP or walking the ramps at school to ensure all is well and everyone is where they should be, Carl is quite the handyman and goes wherever he is needed, from roofing to flooring and even some construction.  He provides his time, service and materials often asking nothing in return. He is truly a selfless individual.

Picture of Carl Payne, Edwins

Lester R. Johnson, Jr., Eglin Elementary School, Lunch Monitor

In addition to his duties as a lunchroom monitor, Mr. Johnson works with the students before and after school as part of the School Age Program.  His is the originator of the famous “Mr. Lester’s Quiet Game. To win, a class must be absolutely quiet. Some days you have to use every strategy in the tool box!

Picture of Lester Johnson, Eglin

Anita Lynne Diamond, Elliott Point Elementary School, CRA, ISS

Anita is truly a take charge kind of person no matter how big or small the task.  She helps create wonderful events including the Annual Read-A-Rama, Pajama Night, and Elliott Point’s yearly Dr. Seuss Read-A-Thon.  She helps out wherever needed including copying materials for students and maintain the science equipment for the school.

Picture of Anita Diamond, Elliott Point

Irene Guernsey, Florosa Elementary School, Interpreter

With a smile on her face and a willingness to go above and beyond, Irene has spent 4 years collaborating with ESE and Title I Teachers to ensure each student gets the support needed to find success.

Picture of Irene Guernsey, Florosa

Peter P. Pinkert, Fort Walton Beach High School, Secretary

After spending 24 years in the United States Air Force, Peter came to Fort Walton Beach High School with a smile and laughter all his own.  He is a full-on team players every step of the way and is always willing to go above and beyond even when a situation gets messy. He is a humble man that gets the job done, no matter what.

Picture of Peter Pinkert, FWBHS

Karen Newnam, Kenwood Elementary School, Secretary

Karen is the first point of contact for visitors and parents. She is very welcoming and takes time to carefully explain information and make people feel comfortable, including waiting with students whose parents are running late.  She handles every task with the utmost of care and professionalism, and makes awesome pepper jelly!

Picture of Karen Newnam, Kenwood

Sheron Brown, Laurel Hill School, CRA, ESE

Everyday Ms. Brown goes above and beyond the call of duty.  Often times as an ESE Aide, she must handle daily tantrums and personal hygiene.  She is soft-spoken, caring, patient, approachable, and one of the most genuine people you will ever meet.

Picture of Sheron Brown, Laurel Hill

Dwight Eddings, Lewis School, CRA, ISS

After serving nearly 30 years in the United States Air Force, Dwight started at Lewis School as a Basketball Coach.  He then began working in the lunchroom and driving a school bus for the District, before taking on his current role as an STP Monitor, where he is always collaborating with students on the Do’s and Don’ts of Life.  Dwight is a one of a kind role model for students and staff.

Picture of Dwight Eddings, Lewis

Tonia L. Feagin Harris, Longwood Elementary School, Custodian

Tonia always comes to work with a positive attitude and willingness to help.  She can be found helping out with the students in the cafeteria during lunch and breakfast, and is encouraging to students with words of praise for a job well done.

Picture of Tonia Harris, Longwood

Dennis Bowling, Maintenance FWB South, Leaderman

Dennis has a great attitude and is always willing to help out even when it involves coming in early or staying late in cases of emergency calls.  He has excelled in his Leaderman position by going above and beyond the call of duty and finding new ways to do things better.

Picture of Dennis Bowling, Maintenance South

James P. Davis II, Maintenance Grounds Support, Custodian II

James has a great attitude and personality and is always willing to help out with any task without any grumbling or complaining. He has a lot of pride in doing his very best at any task and alwys does a very neat and tidy job.

Picture of James Davis, Maintenance Ground Support

Anne G. Goodrum, Mary Esther Elementary School, CRA, PreK-D

Anne never comes to work unhappy. She greets every day and everyone with a smile and positive attitude and the students are always happy to see her.  After her Pre-KD students have left for the day, she spends time working with students in the lower grades on their Math and ELA to help them succeed.

Roxanna Slater, Meigs Middle School, Interpreter

Roxanna’s dedication to the students of Meigs Middle School is heartfelt and sincere. She does whatever it takes to ensure their success.  She has gone out of her way to help parents fill out online applications for free and reduced lunch making the process easy and comfortable.  She has also raised a very successful daughter who is currently in her second year of Medical School.

Picture of Roxanna Slater, Meigs

Sheila Watson, Northwood Elementary School, Secretary, School

Sheila shines from the inside out! She is soft spoken and has a calming effect when comforting those in her presences, whether it is a child whose parent is late picking them up or an upset parent in the office.  She has a gift for defusing the situation.  When not at work, Sheila enjoys quilting, reading, and camping with her family.

Picture of Sheila Watson, Northwood

F. Juli-Anna Davis, Nutrition Center, Accountant

Ms. Davis completed the necessary steps and paperwork and was awarded equipment grants for three of our schools.  She enjoys spending time with her sons, John and Justin.

Picture of F. Juli-Anna Davis, Nutrition

Belinda Eisenburg, Okaloosa STEMM Academy, Bookkeeper

After 19 years with the Okaloosa County School District and 17 years with the Okaloosa Property Appraiser’s Office, Belinda retired in 2011 but couldn’t stay away and 4 years ago, came back to work at the STEMM Academy.  She never presents a problem without a solution and is super dependable and pro-active.

Picture of Belinda Eisenburg, Okaloosa STEMM

Wonda White, Plew Elementary School, CRA

Wonda works with Math remediation students, always giving 100% of herself in her duties.  She has decorated her space with Math and Vocal that helps enhance the students learning and understanding and works closely with teachers to ensure her students are successful.  She is also a very talked equestrian who helps special needs children with riding.

Picture of Wonda White, Plew

Cheryl L. Thompson, Pryor Middle School, Secretary

Cheryl is an integral part of Pryor’s Administrative team.  She has been a consistent anchor through many storms and changes over the years and has seen eight new principals in her 18 years at the school.  She is always available to help and is artistic and creative.  She makes amazing designs for the doors and creates any kind of wacky prop needed for school functions.

Picture of Cheryl Thompson, Pryor

Lela Tracy Long, Richbourg School, Job Coach

Several classes at Richbourg are unable to go to the lunchroom due to the noise levels, so Tracy carefully chooses breakfast items for each of the students and delivers them to the classrooms where she helps feed the students.  She has a great attitude and never shies away from learning something new.

Picture of Lela Long, Richbourg

Karen Born, Riverside Elementary School, CRA

Karen sees the possibility in every student she works with and works with each one to reach his or her potential.  She tutors most of the school’s struggling learners both in and outside of school and she volunteers at several school activities including SAC.  She is very humble and honest and truly believes in what we do and wants to give back in any way she can.

Picture of Karen Born, Riverside

Raymond Ashworth, Ruckel Middle School, CRA, ESE

Raymond is always ready to help a teacher or student in need. He regularly volunteers for morning duties for teachers if they need to attend a conference and each afternoon he checks on each VE student to make sure they have all the material that they need to take home for the day.

Picture of Raymond Ashworth, Ruckel

Jerome M. Stewart Sr., Shalimar Elementary School, Custodian

Jerome is reliable, dedicated and eternally upbeat.  His work ethic, enthusiasm, communication skills, and overall professional demeanor is commendable.  Often times he arrives to work early in the morning to pick up trash along the road and around campus to ensure the grounds and school are always in tip-top shape.

Picture of Jerome Stewart, Shalimar

Amy Bolanos, Shoal River Middle School, CRA, ESE

Amy always has a positive attitude and is willing to help. She truly believes in her students and their ability to succeed and greets everyone with a smile on her face.

Picture of Amy Bolanos, Shoal River

Frederick A. Cheney II, Silver Sands School, CRA, ESE

Mr. Cheney’s skills in de-escalation, prevention, and safety are exceptional.  Often times he rides the bus with particular student s when they’ve had a rough day making a difficult transition much simpler for the schools unique children.  He has a giant heart and calms those around him by being his honest and positive self.

Picture of Frederick Cheney, Silver Sands

Tarra Howard, Southside Primary School, Secretary

Tarra is always the first to arrive at school and begins taking calls from employees that need a substitute for the day. She is relentless in her search, until a sub or other employee is reached to cover the responsibility.  Her first priority is always to the children and making sure they have a smiling face to greet them in the morning when they arrive.

Picture of Tarra Howard, Southside

Todd Brady, Transportation North, Mechanic I

Todd was unable to attend breakfast.

Leslie Michele Bishop, Transportation Central, Bus Driver

Whether she is fueling buses, washing buses or driving buses, Leslie’s attitude, work ethic, and character are exemplary.  Anytime she is asked to do something extra, she does it with a positive attitude.

Picture of Leslie Bishop, Transportation

Amy Holloway, Walker Elementary School, CRA, Title I

While working with students, Amy shows great patience and respect for their individual needs, with an uncanny ability to connect with students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures.  She give of her personal time to stay informed of emerging trends in education to fine-tune her instruction to meet the needs of her remedial students.

Picture of Amy Holloway, Walker

"Mr. Bob" Armor, Wright Elementary School, Custodian

Mr. Bob is always cheerful, cooperative, and witty.  He is known for his impromptu puns and engages in playing matching wits with Faculty and Staff.  Never excluding himself for any aspect of the school, he is always willing to support the students, parents, and staff.

Picture of Bob Armor, Wright


About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation

The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, Inc. (OPSF) is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation. It is a partnership between families, schools, community and business. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County. Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards. Learn more about the OPSF here.