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Sean Dietrich, perhaps more commonly known as Sean of the South, joined WMS teachers after lunch on Tuesday, January 5th, delivering a live, virtual message via Zoom straight from his travel trailer turned office.  A celebrated columnist, blogger, and social media phenomenon, Dietrich, who makes his home right here in Walton County, authentically writes about southern life and its people and places.  In his moving talk to WMS, Sean shared how two specific teachers (one after his father's suicide and another during his first college class) connected with him, recognizing his talent and encouraging him to write.  Sean reminded WMS teachers of the universal truth that all the good ones know--that relationships and connectedness matter, perhaps now more than ever.  After speaking then reading one of his stories "Teacher", Sean then opened the floor for teachers to ask questions.  Walton Middle School thanks Sean Dietrich and his wonderful wife Jamie for their graciousness--the time they took to make this event possible as we enter the new year and new semester.  No doubt, Sean's inspiration will empower teachers to go forth and do what they do best--"change the world."

Freeport High School would not be what it is without the many positive contributions of its faculty and staff. Each year school personnel nominate and select individuals whose daily work exemplifies the very best of Freeport High School to be awarded as teacher and educational support person (ESP) of the year. This year, Freeport High School is proud to honor Mr. Conor Voreis as its teacher of the year and Mrs. Kim Caudill as its ESP of the year. Congratulations!

Dune Lakes Elementary School announces 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year and Education Support Person of the Year

Dune Lakes Elementary School is proud to name Rebecca King, PE Instructor, as our 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year.  In her 33rd year, Ms. King has taught and coached in a career that spans high school and elementary physical education.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and Master of Education degree in sports science.  

For 20 years Coach King spent her summers coaching women's basketball summer camps for renowned University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach, Pat Summitt.

After coaching high school for over two decades, she moved closer to home and in 2012 began teaching at Bay Elementary School. While comparing high school and college coaching to elementary coaching is like comparing apples to oranges, elementary education quickly found a place dear to her heart.  

"Seeing the excitement and willingness to learn a new game and to be involved in the class is something that brings me happiness," shares Ms. King.  "I know we are working on their motor skills like catching, throwing and coordination; however, their innocence allows them to just have fun and find their competitive spirt."  

To Dune Lakes Elementary, Coach King is a key team member always offering support where needed and taking on additional responsibilities when possible.  Anyone who has the opportunity to be in one of her classes can see the students’ appreciation for Coach King and respect and patience for team play.  

Dune Lakes is excited to honor Coach King as our MVP!

In addition, Dune Lakes Elementary School is proud to name Ms. Tanya Durham as our 2020-2021 ESP of the Year.  Ms. Durham joined our Dune Lakes family when the school opened in 2019.  Constantly showing her talents in creativity, Ms. Durham consistently shows up to support staff and administration well beyond her custodial scope.  If there is a job needing to be done, Ms. Durham is quick to take care of things.

Ms. Durham is an appreciated addition to the Dune Lakes family, and we are thrilled to name her as our ESP of the Year!

Please join us in congratulating Ms. King and Ms. Durham!

Freeport Middle School would like to announce the 2020-21 Educational Support Professional of the Year (Jackie Anderson) and Teacher of the Year (Lauren Slatcoff).  

Congratulations to these well-deserving staff members!

Congratulations to our District Office Teacher of the Year, Alecia Hogans and our Tivoli Complex Educational Support Professional of the Year, Cassandra Andrews!

Mrs. Hogans serves as a Digital Learning Specialist and Ms. Andrews serves as custodian for the Tivoli Complex District Office.

Both of these EPIC professionals are invaluable to our staff and help the daily projects of the Curriculum and Instruction Department move forward efficiently and effectively. They are greatly appreciated!

Congrats to WMS' 2020-21 Teacher & ESP of the Year

Walton Middle School proudly congratulates two of its stellar employees!

The faculty recently voted for Mrs. Makala Ellenburg, seventh grade math teacher and grade level chair, to be the 2020-21 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Ellenburg works tirelessly each and every day for her students and for her fellow seventh grade teachers. Her professionalism and commitment are unsurpassed, as she goes the extra mile for everyone she comes in contact with.

The educational support staff recently voted for Mrs. Guadalupe Lara-Parades, bilingual aide, to be the 2020-21 ESP of the Year. Mrs. Lara-Parades serves as a tremendous asset to our English Language Learners and Spanish I and II students, as well as teachers, staff, and parents. With a growing ELL population, our school values her hard work each and every day.

Today and every day, WMS appreciates Mrs. Ellenburg and Mrs. Lara-Parades. Our school is a better place because of their caring hearts and their hard work.

Grasses in Classes at MSE

December 18, 2020

Grasses in Classes at MSE

Our third graders are participating in Grasses in Classes, a hands-on, environmental education program that gives students a direct role in the restoration of Choctawhatchee Bay through the growing and planting of shoreline grasses. Yesterday, they dissected the smooth cordgrass and examined the leaves, stems, and roots. The program instills a love of local habitat, restores shoreline, and inspires the next generation of watershed stewards.

At a recent science club meeting, members created geode ornaments to take home to hang on their trees or give as gifts.  Students used a combination of glitter glass, acrylic paints, epoxy resin, hardener, and spray adhesive to adorn their plastic ornaments.  What a fun way to use science to spread holiday cheer!

The past few weeks, Mrs. Heather Stewart's Critical Thinking class has been working on Christmas gifts for their teachers. They have been making personalized paw print soap. They first designed what they wanted the soap to look like in Tinkercad (a design program) and printed a model on the 3D printer. Then, they placed two of the models in a box and poured a liquid silicone over them to create a soap mold. Next, they melted glycerin and added mica powder for color and poured it into the mold. After allowing it to sit for a couple of hours, they had pawprint soaps that look just like their 3D design! Great job!

Art in the Capital

December 16, 2020

Congratulations to Walton Middle School art student Bethany Waites for having her artwork selected as the Walton County representative in the Art in the Capitol Competition. Bethany's artwork will be displayed in the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee during the 2021 Legislative Session.

In July of 2016, the Florida Legislature passed and Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 701 establishing the Art in the Capitol Competition, a statewide visual arts competition for Florida students in grades 6 through 8. Each school district is required to hold an annual art competition with artwork judged by a selection committee consisting of art teachers. The winning art from each district is then displayed in the Capitol.

On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, Principal Jason Campbell and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Hawthorne congratulated Bethany and her art teacher, Brittany Grant, for this achievement.

This is the third consecutive year that the Art in the Capitol Competition winner from Walton County School District has been a student at Walton Middle School, with art teacher Brittany Grant.