School Board Approves New Administrators

Amy Anderson was named Assistant Principal of Mary Esther Elementary School; Joe Peterson was named Program Director MIS, Information Systems Department; and Denise Reichal was named Curriculum Specialist Elementary, Curriculum Department at the September 14th Okaloosa County School Board Meeting.

Amy Anderson Named Assistant Principal of Mary Esther Elementary School

Once she started teaching as a substitute in Okaloosa District schools, Amelia (Amy) Anderson became hooked on public education.  She is a product of Okaloosa schools, having attended Edge Elementary, Ruckel Middle School and graduating from Niceville High School.  She went on to graduate from what was then Okaloosa-Walton Junior College and then The Florida State University.  She earned her Masters of Education in Education Leadership from the University of West Florida and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Education; Curriculum and Instruction, also through UWF.

Amy has taught a self-contained unit for students with autism (kindergarten through fifth grade) as well as serving as the ESE/SLD teacher at Lewis School.  She has served as the ESE Department Chairperson at Lewis School, is an active member of the RtI/MTSS committee, and was selected as the Lewis School Teacher of the Year for 2013.

Her husband John and their son Ian (a senior at Niceville High School) are her greatest supporters and sources of encouragement, along with her mother and sister, Amelia and Blythe Williams.  She is grateful to the family at New Hope in Valparaiso for their support and the family at Lewis School for their examples and encouragement.

Joe Peterson Named Program Director MIS, Information Systems Department

Joe Peterson has been employed in Okaloosa County since 1993.  He began his career at Fort Walton Beach High School as a Mathematics teacher.  After demonstrating strong skills in technology he was made Technology Coordinator in 1995. In 2001, he helped design and manage Fort Walton Beach High School’s Success Academy, where ninety percent of the curriculum was performance-based.

In 2005, Joe was promoted to Assistant Principal at Fort Walton Beach High School, where he was instrumental in working with the school budget, data analysis, and the restructuring of the Attendance office policies to an electronic format.  He collaborated with the other high schools in the county, enabling them to incorporate these same policies, which have been highly efficient and successful at Fort Walton Beach High School.

In 2014, he moved to the district office as a Data Specialist, where he analyzed testing data for the entire district.  He provided schools with three-year performance data for FCAT, EOC, AP, IB and AICE programs, aiding with more specific data-driven decision making.

Peterson is a graduate of Fort Walton Beach High School, and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics Education from Florida State University, and a Master of Education Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida.  He has been married for seventeen years to his wife, Kim, a teacher at Choctawhatchee High School.  They have three children, Emily, Kenny, and Abby.

Denise Reichal Named Curriculum Specialist Elementary, Curriculum Department

Denise Reichal has been an educator for 13 years.  She currently serves as an ELA Elementary District Instructional Coach for Curriculum and Instruction for the Okaloosa County School District.  Her experience began in Georgia, as an Early Intervention Program teacher focusing on at risk first, fourth, and fifth graders.  She then transitioned into the classroom as a first grade teacher.  It was during this time that she developed her passion for teaching reading.

Denise moved to Okaloosa County in 2006.  Since moving into the district, she has taken on many different roles.  She taught first and third grade at Elliott Point Elementary.  During her time at Elliott Point, she was an Observation Classroom for Balanced Literacy.  She was also the past president of the Okaloosa Reading Council.  As a classroom teacher, Reichal mentored numerous student teachers.  Before moving to Curriculum and Instruction, she was a school-based Instructional Coach.

Since Denise began working at Curriculum and Instruction, she has served on many state committees.  She served as both an Item Reviewer and evaluator for Bias and Sensitivity on the updated Florida Teacher Certification exam.  She has also participated on the FSA Writing Range Finder Committee and FSA Standards Setting Panel.  Her participation on these committees has allowed her to develop a deep understanding of the Florida Standards and the instructional expectations reflected in the standards.

Reichal obtained both her Bachelors’ and Masters’ Degrees in Elementary Education from Kennesaw State University located in Kennesaw, Georgia.  She is currently finishing up her Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida.