School Board Approves New Administrators

Gary Massey was named Principal of Shoal River Middle School, Lindsey Smith was named Assistant Principal of Bruner Middle School, Kathleen Armstrong was named Assistant Principal of Shalimar Elementary School, and John Hicks was named Niceville High School Athletic Director at the February 22nd School Board Meeting.  Kim McSparren was named Principal of Shalimar Elementary, Cheree Davis was named Specialist: Grants and Non-Operating Income, and Scott Nuss was named Assistant Principal of  Elliott Point Elementary School at the February 8th School Board Meeting.

Gary Massey – Shoal River Middle School Principal

Gary Massey is a displaced Northerner who has become an adopted member of the South.  Growing up in Michigan was distinctly different from his bright new home in the Sunshine State.  His family moved here in 1985 and he says he has fallen in love with the area time and time again.  He began his education in Florida at Fort Walton Beach High School, continued to Okaloosa Walton College, graduated from UWF with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education, and obtained a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from UWF in 2006. 

In between these educational experiences Gary met his wife Dawn, who is the sole reason he continued his education past high school.  She is his best friend.  Together they were taking over highway 98 as she is the principal of Florosa Elementary.  Along with marrying Dawn, the family bundle he signed up for included two boys.  His oldest, James, is a senior at FWB High School starting Troy University in the Fall, and his youngest, Justin, is a sophomore there as well.  He is extremely proud of their two boys as they are actively involved at school and play for the baseball team.  Family has always been a focus in Gary’s life and has guided his decision to study education.  “I do not believe there is another profession more conducive to raising a family than education.”  He taught 4th and 5th grades at Longwood Elementary and 5th grade at James E. Plew Elementary for 8 years before he moved into administration.  The culmination of his teaching career occurred when he became the teacher of the year at Plew Elementary in 2007.   

The year 2015 found Gary entering his 9th year as an administrator in Okaloosa County, and he has relished every minute of his second career.  “I have served as a Middle School Assistant Principal, Elementary Assistant Principal and a Principal of two different schools (Bob Sikes Elementary and Mary Esther Elementary).  The highlight of my job is the daily ability to make a difference in the lives of all around me.  I strive to be a servant leader, and in the long run I hope my life will have made an impact on those around me.  I will truly miss my Thunderbird crew but I am eager to meet my band of Mustangs.  I am rearing to go!”

Kim McSparren – Shalimar Elementary Principal

Kim McSparren graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary / Early Childhood Education, from Troy University with a Masters in Psychology and from UWF with a Specialist’s degree in Educational Leadership. She is certified in Gifted Education and Guidance and has been a classroom teacher, a gifted teacher, a guidance counselor and an assistant principal. Kim taught in Alabama, Germany, and almost 20 years in Florida, 13 of those years have been at Shalimar Elementary. She is a member of Shalimar United Methodist church and serves as the Altruistic Chairman for ADK. Her husband Bill, is retired from the US Air Force and currently works as an investigator for the Department of Agriculture. They have 3 daughters – 2 of which are products of Okaloosa County schools. Her oldest daughter teaches at Kenwood Elementary as a CBS teacher. She and Bill have six grandchildren – three of which are in Okaloosa County schools. In her spare time she enjoys spending time at the beach.

Cheree Davis – Specialist: Grants and Non-Operating Income - (not pictured)

Cheree Davis came to the Okaloosa County School District in 2005 as the Literacy Coach for Shoal River Middle School. In 2011 she became the Title 1 Specialist for the District and successfully oversaw the multi-million dollar Title 1 grant program for all schools. As the Title 1 Specialist, Cheree was responsible for seeking input and advisement from staff and parents to continually improve the impact of Title 1 in Okaloosa County.

Davis moved to become the Principal of Edwins Elementary School in 2012 and then to Shoal River Middle School as the Principal in 2013. She received a Bachelor’s in English Education from the University of West Florida and in 2003 received a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction/Reading Education from the University of West Florida.

Scott Nuss – Elliott Point Elementary School Assistant Principal

Scott Nuss received his B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of West Florida in 1999 and received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in 2009. Scott spent the next 14 years at Wright Elementary working primarily in 5th grade as well as, 3rd and 4th. In addition to teaching, he worked as a Grade Level Chair, Student Council Sponsor and a member of the Leadership team at Wright Elementary. Outside of the classroom he has been a member of state committees such as FCAT Item Review and FCAT Range Finding. After leaving Wright Elementary, Scott accepted the position of Dean of Students at Bruner Middle School and later became Assistant Principal in 2014. He and his wife, Holly, have lived on the Emerald coast, with their two children, for most of their lives. He is excited to accept the position of Assistant Principal at Elliott Point Elementary and is looking forward to working once again in elementary education.

Lindsey Smith – Bruner Middle School Assistant Principal

Lindsey Smith is a product of the Okaloosa County School system, graduating from Choctawhatchee High School in 2002. She then attended The Florida State University, completed her student teaching at Niceville High School, and graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English Education. Since then, she has been a teacher at Fort Walton Beach High School teaching AP English Language, 12th grade English, 10th grade English, Creative Writing, and AICE Thinking Skills. She earned her master’s degree of Ed. Leadership from University of West Florida in 2011. Lindsey has served as the Advanced Studies Coordinator at Fort Walton for the last five years and was named the Testing Coordinator during the 2015-2016 school year.

Lindsey has been married to Chester Smith, also a product of the Okaloosa County School System for four years and they have a son, Wyatt, who is 17 months old. Chester is a Captain in the Army Reserves based out of Orlando Florida and works as a contractor on Eglin Air Force Base. 

Kathleen Armstrong – Shalimar Elementary School Assistant Principal

John Hicks – Niceville High School Athletic Director (not pictured)

John Hicks began his career at Richbourg Jr. High in Crestview in 1981. He worked at Port St Joe High School from 1982-1984 and has been at Niceville High School from 1985 to the present. Serving as the Athletic Director/Head Football Coach at Niceville since 2001, his teams have been in the play offs 15 consecutive seasons with a record of 133-46.  As the athletic director, Hicks has led Niceville Athletics to a top five ranking statewide on several occasions.

John has been married to his wife, Susan, for 33 years.  They have two children, Karly, a student at Auburn University and Kristen Whiddon, a pharmacist in Niceville.