School Board Recognizes Retiring Principals and Approves New Assistant Principals

The Okaloosa County School District celebrated the retirement of Principal’s Billy Mikel, CHOICE HS & Technical Center, Beth Walthall, Davidson Middle School, and Jeanine Kirkland, Walker Elementary School at the June 22nd Okaloosa County School Board Meeting.  The Board also named Victoria Hurley the Assistant Principal of Baker School and John Love the Assistant Principal of Walker Elementary School.


Billy Mikel, CHOICE HS & Technical Center – Principal - 33 years

“I learned a long time ago that you can’t be successful and can’t be good at what you do, unless there are some things that you surround yourself with.  Number one is good people.  I am so blessed in my career.  I have been blessed with some of the greatest teachers, support staff, and most important of all, some great students.  They make you look good.”

Beth Walthall, Davidson Middle School – Principal - 27 years


“I certainly didn’t plan on retiring as early as necessary for me to.  I have worked with some great people throughout the years.  It is who you surround yourself with and I appreciate the staff and the Board for the opportunities I was given.  I am a product of the Okaloosa County School District. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and it has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Okaloosa County School District.”

Jeanine Kirkland, Walker Elementary – Principal - 31 years

“First of all I would like to say thank you to the Board.  It has been a wonderful time working for this District. What a blessing to work at a school district like Okaloosa County.  I worked at three fabulous schools: Kenwood Elementary where I spent the better part of my career; a year at Laurel Hill – that was awesome learning about those kids, to see kindergartners with seniors; and of course, my wonderful Walker and those sweet Owls up there.  So I am very grateful and couldn’t ask for a more wonderful place to work.  It has been a delightful experience.”


Victoria Hurley, Baker School – Assistant Principal

Victoria Hurley is a proud product of the Okaloosa County School District.  She is a Baker School graduate, who went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Troy University.  Mrs. Hurley began her teaching career in Pasco County before returning home to give back to the community she grew up in.  She has worked at Pine View Middle, Northwood Elementary, Walker Elementary, Baker School and served OCSD as an Instructional Coach.  For over 16 years, Mrs. Hurley has taught a variety of classes with students ranging from third to tenth grade as well as participated in community and statewide projects.  

Among her accolades are the Governor’s Shine Award, 2015 Okaloosa County Teacher of the Year, Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year and Disney Environmentality Regional Winner.  Mrs. Hurley is a lifelong learner, always seeking improvements she has instructed 246 hours of professional development and has earned a supplementary 1,586 hours of in-service credit including a K-12 Reading Endorsement and NGCAR-PD Certification. 

Victoria Hurley credits her success to the support she has received from her family, friends, former teachers and colleagues.  She has been married to Drew Hurley for 17 years and they have two children; Olivia Hurley and Stella Hurley.  “I want to thank my family.  They are my biggest fans and give unselfishly so I can do a job I love.”    Mrs. Hurley has deep roots in the Baker community.  She boast, “My grandfather, Morris Adams, is a Baker graduate and played on Baker’s very first football team.  My parents, Rhonda and Tommy Eiland and their combined five siblings graduated from Baker.  My sister and I are Baker graduates and Baker teachers; with all of our children attending Baker School.”  Mrs. Hurley will strive to lead Baker School and its students down a path of personal and academic success.

John Love, Walker Elementary School – Assistant Principal

John A. Love II was born in Georgia but grew up in Alaska.  After graduating from high school in 1985 from Kenai, Alaska he joined the Army.  John moved to Northwest Florida in 1991.  After volunteering for and going to Operation Desert Storm he decided to leave the military and begin going to college, mostly because his mother kept pushing him to get his degree, at Okaloosa Walton Community College and then transferred to the University of West Florida after receiving his Associate’s degree.  John received his Bachelor’s degree from UWF in 1997, Physical Education, but didn’t start in the teaching profession until 2004.  He then received his Master’s degree, also from UWF and also at his mother’s behest, in 2012.

John’s first teaching position was with Blended School in 2003 and he was the lead teacher at the Gulf Breeze Zoo location and also taught at the Gulfarium on Okaloosa Island.  In 2004 he taught intensive reading at Bruner Middle School and moved to Pryor Middle School, also teaching intensive reading, from 2005 – 2008.  John then taught dropout prevention at Emerald Coast Career Institute (ECCI) from 2008 – 2010.  When ECCI closed he stayed at the CHOICE campus and taught dropout prevention at Best Chance from 2010 – 2013.  In 2014 he taught reading and Algebra 1 for CHOICE high school but moved to Walker Elementary in December of 2014 to be the Dean of Students.

John has three children.  His oldest two, Abram and Rachael, live in Virginia and his youngest, Lauren, was a freshman at Choctaw high school for 2014/2015 school year.  Both of his parents, Abram & Carol Ann Love, live in Fort Walton Beach along with his sister, Brandy Laws with her husband Will Laws.  Both of their children are graduates of Choctaw high school, Nik & Kylie Laws.