School Board Approves New Administrators
At the June 2018 School Board meetings, Joe Jannazo was named the Principal at Destin Elementary School, Nicole Rickmon was named the Principal at Richbourg School, Wanda Avery was named the Principal at the Okaloosa STEMM Academy, Amy Vest was named the Assistant Principal at Eglin Elementary School, Suzy Bourgeois was named the Assistant Principal at Silver Sands School, and Vaneesa Harrington was named the Assistant Principal at Richbourg School.
Joe Jannazo – Principal at Destin Elementary School
Joe Jannazo is a proud product of the Okaloosa County school system. After landing in Shalimar, Florida in the early 1990’s as an Air Force dependent, he attended Shalimar Elementary School, Meigs Middle School, and graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in 2003 with his International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Following high school, Jannazo attended Florida State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs with a Concentration in Political Science. In 2009, after working in the private sector, he entered the field of education as a teacher at W.C. Pryor Middle School where over the course of 5 years had the pleasure of teaching Engineering, Aviation, US History, Meteorology, Robotics, Graphic Arts, and Intro to Technology. Jannazo also spent his afternoons coaching Football, Soccer, and Baseball during his tenure at Pryor.
In 2014, Jannazo completed his master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida and moved to Choctawhatchee High School as an Assistant Principal. While at Choctawhatchee, he earned his Principalship Certification and served as both the Region Director and President-Elect for the Florida Assistant Principals Association Board of Directors. Jannazo is married to his beautiful wife Jenna. They have three children, Braden, age 10, Kate, age 7, and Scarlett, who is 18 months.
Nicole Rickmon – Principal at Richbourg School (Not pictured)
A product of Okaloosa County School District, Rickmon graduated from Crestview High School in 1991 and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida. Before deciding to enter the education field, she worked with juvenile probation. Nicole realized she wanted to work with these students and try to change their paths before they entered the juvenile system. She taught middle school and high school dropout prevention students for six years before becoming the Dean of Students and then the Assistant Principal at Richbourg School and Best Chance North. During these six years, she also served as an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher, Lead Teacher, and on the School Advisory Council. Earning her master’s degree in Educational Leadership in 2013, she completed the Okaloosa County School District’s Level II Leadership program in 2015.
Rickmon has been married to Jason, a sergeant with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, for almost 24 years and they have three wonderful children who all graduated from Baker School. Garth is a senior at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Kaitlyn is an Okaloosa County School District substitute teacher and a daycare worker, and Logan is a sophomore at Florida State University.
Wanda Avery – Principal at Okaloosa STEMM Academy (Not pictured)
Wanda Avery is also a product of the Okaloosa County School District. After attending the old Holt School in 2nd grade she transferred to Baker School where she attended until graduating. After graduating from Baker School, Avery attended Okaloosa Walton Junior College and graduated from the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology. She worked several years as a Medical Technologist before becoming certified to teach.
Beginning in 1984, Avery taught Chemistry and Zoology at Crestview High School and completed her master’s in Education Leadership. She became an Assistant Principal at Crestview High School in 1999, transferred to Assistant Principal at Richbourg/Shoal River Middle School in 2002, and then served as Principal at Antioch Elementary from 2011 to 2014. Avery took over the leadership of the Okaloosa STEMM Academy in July of 2014.
Amy Vest – Assistant Principal at Eglin Elementary School
Amy Vest is a product of the Okaloosa County School system. Her family moved to the area in 1989 and she attended school at Plew Elementary School, Ruckel Middle School, and Niceville High School. Vest attended Auburn University where she earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and went directly on to the University of Florida to obtain her master's degree in Elementary Education with a focus on literacy. She moved back to Niceville, Florida in 2003 and began her teaching career at Destin Elementary School where she has worked for the past 15 years as a 3rd-grade teacher. During her years at Destin, Vest served on numerous committees and held many leadership positions such as mentor teacher, grade level chair, data team leader, professional development coordinator, SAC chairperson, and has been a member of the leadership team for the past 4 years. She was elected as Destin Elementary’s Teacher of the Year 2 years ago. In 2016, she earned her 2nd master's degree from the University of West Florida in Educational Leadership.
Vest currently lives in Destin with her fiancé Scott and their 4 dogs. Scott works as a civil servant for Eglin Air Force Base. She and Scott will be married this November. Vest is thrilled to be experiencing these exciting events in her personal and professional life and is honored to have been chosen to serve the amazing faculty, staff, students, and military and civilian families at Eglin Elementary School.
Suzy Bourgeois – Assistant Principal at Silver Sands School
Suzy Bourgeois graduated from the University of New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She has previously taught Kindergarten through 8th grade in Louisiana and Mississippi before moving to Florida in 2011. In Okaloosa County, she was a 2nd-grade teacher at Longwood Elementary School, and for the past four years, she has been a Peer Evaluator/Consulting Teacher. Bourgeois is married to Harold and they have one son, Cody.
Vaneesa Harrington – Assistant Principal at Richbourg School
Born in Alconbury, UK, to military parents, Morris and Bernice Harrington, Vaneesa Harrington first came to Okaloosa County in 1991 when her father was stationed at Eglin AFB, and to where she would later return as an elementary school teacher. Harrington is a proud graduate of Crestview High School. After serving on active duty in the U.S. Army and spending nearly 15 years working in civilian healthcare, she began her career in the Okaloosa County School District as a substitute teacher. She later began teaching third grade at Eglin Elementary School and then transferred to Davidson Middle School where she taught sixth grade ELA. Harrington earned a master’s degree in Education Leadership from Grand Canyon University where she was also accepted into the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program.
She comes from a family of educators and educational support personnel which includes her mother, Bernice Harrington, at Southside Primary School. Within the Okaloosa County School District, she has two high school students, Vyandori Rich and Jawanza Rich, and one elementary school student, Samia Harrington. Vaneesa and her family are very excited to join the team at Richbourg School and look forward to serving the students, parents, faculty, and staff at their new school home.