Juanita Payne-Galbreath, Crestview HS, named the 2016 Educational Support Professional of the Year

Juanita Payne-Galbreath, Crestview High School, was named the 2016 Educational Support Professional of the Year at the 14th Annual Awards Banquet on February 12, 2016.  Payne-Galbreath started her employment with Okaloosa Schools in 1998.  She has served in multiple Classroom Assistant positions including her current ESE Assistant position at Crestview High School.

Sheila Commander (R), Bluewater Elementary School, and Mayela Ayala (L), CHOICE High School & Technical Center , were named Finalists.  

Commander is currently a PE Classroom Assistant at Bluewater and has spent the last several summers working at Bluewater's Daycare, she has been with the district since 2002. 

Ayala began her position as a ESL Interpreter at the Choice High School & Technical Center in the Fall of 2013.

“So many of your go the extra mile,” said Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.  “You are as much a part of our District as anyone and I am grateful to serve as your Superintendent.”

Congratulations to all of our Educational Support Professionals of the Year:

Antioch ES – Ruth Ann Davis      

Davis has been with the school district since 1993 she began working at Antioch in 2006 and is currently a PE Classroom Assistant.

Baker School – Kristin E. Herndon

Herndon is an ESE Classroom Assistant at Baker, She began continuous service for the district in January 2004 after tutoring and substituting in the county.

Bay Area Office – Mary N. Rivas

Rivas began working for the district in May 2013 as a Secretary in the Finance Department, which she continues today.

Bob Sikes Elementary School – Darla L. Southard

After substituting in the district for 5 years Southard began working at Bob Sikes in 2009 where she is currently a Title I Assistant.

Bruner Middle School – Pamela Sisneros

Sisneros has served in several positions in multiple schools & departments since her original hiring in 1984. She has been a Secretary, a Bookeeper and even a Bus Driver.  She is currently the Principal's Secretary at Bruner.

Carver Hill Complex – Teresa A. Davis

Davis has been an employee in the school district since 1988, she began her position as a Secretary at MIS more than 7 years ago after spending the majority of her employment as a School Secretary.

Choctawhatchee High School – Joseph Neely

Neely is the Daytime Custodian at Choctawhatchee High School, he previously served on the Grounds Crew and other positions for the Maintenance Department during his 13 year employment with the District, he is also a member of Choctaw's Football Coaching Staff and Baseball Coach.

Davidson Middle School – Mary Christy

Christy is the Daytime Custodian at Davidson Middle School where she has been for almost 2 years after starting as a cleaner with the District in 2012.

Destin Elementary School – Angela Winkler

Winkler began as a Classroom Assistant with the District 11 years ago before moving to School Secretary and finally into her Bookkeeper position for Destin Elementary 2 years ago.

Destin Middle School – Sandra Hunter

Hunter has been a lunchroom worker in our schools since the start of 2005, she has also served several years in our summer feeding programs.

Edge Elementary School – Irene Maldonado

After serving in substitute positions for several years Maldonado began working for the District as an ESE Assistant in 2003, today she works as a Classroom Assistant with our Preschool Handicap at Edge where she has been since 2011.

Edwins Elementary School – Kevin D. Jones

Jones began his ESE classroom assistant position this year at Edwins after spending many years substituting within the district.

Eglin Elementary School – Sue Ellen Sorlie

Sorlie has been the STP Monitor at Eglin for 2 years, since her original hire in 2002 she has spent time in several assistant positions, served as daycare worker and a lunchroom monitor.

Elliott Point Elementary School - Tami Hare

Hare began her employment with the district in February 1999 as a classroom assistant; today she is the Front Office Secretary for Elliott Point.

Florosa Elementary School – Ricky A. Traywick

Traywick began working as a cleaner for the district in 2011; he is now the Daytime Custodian for Florosa Elementary School.

Fort Walton Beach High School – Aaron J. Pitman

Pitman works as a Secretary, among other duties, for Fort Walton High School after spending time substituting and working as a Classroom Assistant for the district.

Kenwood Elementary School – Gina Mercer

Mercer has worked continuously in the district since the fall of 1991, she has been an assistant, a custodian and a daycare worker, and today she is a Preschool Handicap Assistant for Kenwood where she has been for 3 years.

Laurel Hill School – Frankie Johnson

Johnson is the STP Monitor for Laurel Hill which she began in 2014, after spending many years substituting in various positions within the District.

Lewis School – Mary Beth Mullins

Mullins has been with our district for over 23 years, most of those in various Classroom assistant positions; she has been at her current ESE Assistant position with Lewis since 2010.

Longwood Elementary School – Jacqueline F. Drones

Drones has been at her current position as a Preschool Handicap Assistant for just over a year  after spending the majority of her 15 year service to the District as an ESE Assistant.

Maintenance FWB South – Collin Crumbley

Crumbley came to the district as a Plumber for the Maintenance department in October 2010.  He continues as such today.

Maintenance Grounds Support – Jeffrey A. Kemp

Kemp started as a Cleaner for the district in 2014 before quickly moving to his current position with our Maintenance Grounds crew.

Mary Esther Elementary School – Windy Jones

Jones has served as a Lunchroom Worker for the district continuously since February 2008.

Meigs Middle School – Phillip Gander

Gander first began as a Student Worker for the district in the summer of 2004; he has been an ESE Classroom Assistant for Meigs Middle School for 6 years.

Niceville High School – Faron Evans

Evans is the Site-Based Technician serving Niceville High School for the maintenance department where he has been for 6 years.

Northwood Elementary School – Beckie Holbrook

Holbrook has been the Library Assistant for Northwood for just over a year now, prior to this she was a classroom assistant and substitute for the district since 2006.

Nutrition Center – Genea Laird

Over the last 10 years Laird has worked in the District's Food Service department in multiple positions including Lunchroom Worker, Manager, Summer Worker and is now the District Secretary for School Food Service.

Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Margarita N. Aguilar

Aguilar has been the cleaner for Okaloosa STEMM Academy since January 2015.

Plew Elementary School – Heather E. McGrael

McGrael has been a Daycare Worker for Plew Elementary since she was first hired into the District in September 2012.

Pryor Middle School – Cheryl L. Thompson

Thompson has been a School Secretary for Pryor Middle School for over 17 years!

Richbourg School – Sandra J. Williams

Williams began her employment with Okaloosa Schools in 1996; she has been with Richbourg for 5 years, currently working as a 1 on 1 Classroom Assistant.

Riverside Elementary School – Gerald Tillman

Tillman has been the Lead Custodian for Riverside for over 2 years; he began working for the district in July 2012 as a Cleaner before quickly moving to a custodian position.

Ruckel Middle School – Terri Corbitt

Corbitt currently works as a Secretary for Ruckel Middle school, where she has been for 18 years. 

Shalimar Elementary School – Shirley K. Roberts

Roberts has served in many rolls during her 11 years with the school district and Shalimar Elementary including Tutor, Library Assistant, Substitute  and her current position of Classroom Assistant.

Shoal River Middle School – Dethra E. Brame

Brame has served as a Classroom Assistant in the District since 2005, she has been with Shoal River since 2009.

Silver Sands School – Lisa Roberts

Roberts has been the Bookkeeper for Silver Sands for just over a year, but before that she served as a ESE Classroom assistant and Lunchroom Worker at the school since she was hired in 2003.

Southside Center – Phyllis D. Warren

Warren has worked as a Child Development Associate for Southside Center for over 3 years, previously she served as a Daycare Worker within the District having begun her employment in 2005.

Transportation North – Gloria Fortner

Fortner has devoted over 36 years to Okaloosa County Schools serving as a District Secretary for our North Transportation Department

Transportation Central – Wanda W. Brunson

Brunson has served Okaloosa County Schools for 18 years, the last 2 years she has been a Secretary for the Central Transportation Department.

Transportation South – Donna Poole

Poole has worked in the district for 11 years, when she was chosen as the Transportation South Ed Support Professional of the Year she was a Transportation Assistant, she has recently moved on to be a Stand-By Driver in the south zone.

Walker Elementary School – Jennifer Johnson

Johnson has been a Clerk for Walker since the fall of 2014, prior to accepting this position she served as a Tutor and Substitute for the County.

Wright Elementary School – Chumuckla Coward

Coward has served more than 10 years with Okaloosa County; she has been a Lunchroom and Daycare Worker and began her current position of STP Monitor at Wright in 2013.

Members of the Educational Support Professional of the Year Committee include Patrick Strong, President, OCESPA; Melissa Thrush, School Board Member, District 5; Andrea Waters, Chair of Selection Committee; Val Moreland, Classroom Assistant, Retired; and Linda Pigford, School Bus Driver, Retired.

Special thanks and appreciation go to the following for their contributions to this year’s event:

  • Corner Café
  • Corporate Benefits
  • Edible Arrangements
  • Florida Financial Services
  • CACI (formerly L3 Communications)
  • Niceville Community Center
  • Melissa Thrush Campaign
  • Okaloosa County Educational Support Professional Association
  • School District Printing Services
  • Trophy Center
  • Jimmie Beavers – Beavers, Inc dba, Arby’s
  • Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation
  • Costa Enterprises
  • Bippy’s Frozen Yogurt
  • Papa Murphy’s