School Board Approves New Administrators

Dr. Lee Hale was named Principal of Choctawhatchee High School, Jerral Horton was named Assistant Principal of Niceville High School, and Jan Crawford was named School Board Office Manager at the April 11th Okaloosa County School Board Meeting.  

Dr. Lee Hale – Choctawhatchee High School Principal

Dr. James Lee Hale is in his 21st year as a professional educator.  He is currently the Principal at Meigs Middle School where he has served for four years.

A lifelong native of the beautiful Shalimar/Fort Walton Beach area, he is a product of the Okaloosa County School System.  After attending both Elliott Point and Shalimar Elementaries, as well as Meigs Junior High School, he graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in 1989. He then attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (1993). He also holds a Master of Education degree in Global Leadership and Administration from Jones International University (2004) and a Specialist of Education degree from the University of West Florida (2011).  In December of 2012, he was awarded a Doctoral degree from the University of West Florida in the field of Instructional and Performance Technology (Dissertation: Secondary Teacher Self-efficacy and Technology Integration.)

A National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education and advocate for rigorous and complex practical learning, Dr. Hale began his career by spending 12 years on the instructional faculty at Choctawhatchee High School teaching a variety of courses in the Business Technology and Social Studies Departments where he was twice recognized in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”  During his time teaching, he also coached baseball and football and served as the school’s webmaster.  Dr. Hale also served for 3 years (2005-2007) as the Coordinator for Choctaw Academy, a school for at-risk students.  He then joined the Leadership Team at Choctawhatchee High School in January of 2007 where he served as the Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction.  

In 2010, Dr. Hale was honored to be named the State of Florida’s Assistant Principal of the Year by the Florida Association of School Administrators and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

In April of 2012, Dr. Hale began his tenure as Principal at Meigs Middle School in Shalimar, Florida.  During his four years at Meigs, the Wildcats have earned 4 straight A’s, the highest recognition bestowed on a school by the state of Florida.  The student population, representing a wide spectrum of student demographics, has grown by nearly 10%. Meigs, under the direction of Dr. Hale, continues to be a destination school with the population set to rise another 6% in the 2016-2017 school year.  Meigs’ school grade and student achievement data continue to illustrate the benefits of Dr. Hale’s expectation of continually “raising the bar.”  Curricular innovations in his time at Meigs include: a revamped TAG (Talented and Gifted) Program which calls to mind the rigorous expectations of the most challenging high school programs, a state of the art RISE (Robotics Integration and STEM Education) program for grades 6 through 8 that was created to be a springboard into Choctaw’s Aviation, Engineering, and IT programs, grade-level blocked math support and content scheduling, dedicated technology assets for improved achievement programs, and Learning Strategies classes.  In addition, extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities have grown through the addition of the Multicultural Council, AFJROTC Prep Club, Art Club, Camo Cats, Robotics Club, Archery Team, program-wide weight training for all athletes, and the return of summer band.

Also in 2012, Dr. Hale was honored to be a participant and Apex Forum presenter in Florida’s inaugural Commissioner’s Leadership Academy, sponsored by the Council for Educational Change and the Florida Department of Education.  He is, or has been, a member of several professional organizations including the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA), the Okaloosa County Administrators and Supervisors Association (OCASA), the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and the College Board.  In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors for Children in Crisis, Inc., a nonprofit charity committed to “establishing homes and providing hope” for abused, neglected and abandoned children in our local community.

An active member of First Baptist Church, Fort Walton Beach, Dr. Hale is the Sunday school teacher for young married couples. He enjoys golf, singing, weightlifting, social media, reading, and writing. Additionally, he is known as the "Voice of the Indians" in Joe Etheredge Stadium on Friday nights during football season.  Dr. Hale has an affinity for music and drama.  He enjoys attending sporting events.  He loves to support active students.  His mantra has always been, “the most successful students are involved students, those who have ownership in the school.”  Dr. Hale, the son of Jim and Nancy Hale (a former Okaloosa County Educator), has been happily married to his best friend and beautiful wife, Gretchen, for over 20 years and is the father of two very active and involved students: Brett, a Choctawhatchee graduate and Geomatics Major at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and Eve, an International Baccalaureate student at Choctaw.

You can follow Dr. Hale on Twitter at @coachhale or on Instagram @doctorleehale.

Jerral Horton – Assistant Principal of Niceville High School

Jerral Horton is a product of the Okaloosa County Schools, specifically Plew Elementary, Ruckel Middle School and Niceville High School - where she graduated in 1982.  She attended Florida State University and graduated 1987. Horton began her teaching career in Jacksonville, Florida. After two years, she decided it was time to come home.  Big city life was not for her.  

Horton taught at Fort Walton Beach High School and Bruner Middle School before transferring to Niceville High School in 1995.  At Niceville, she taught Science, mostly Biology and Chemistry.  She was the Science Department Chair at both Bruner and Niceville.  For the last five years, Horton has been the Freshman Guidance Counselor.

Jerral is married to Steve Horton and they have 2 children - Shane, a recent graduate of the University of Florida and Brooks, a junior at Niceville High School.