There’s A Lot Going On in May
Superintendent A. Russell Hughes is proud to announce the appointment of Mr. Todd Drake as principal of Emerald Coast Middle School. Drake is originally from Snellville, Ga., and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Augusta University, a Master’s of Mass Communications in Advertising and a Specialist in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia. Drake brings with him three years of banking experience and 13 years of educational experience. He holds certifications in the fields of Special Education General Curriculum (P-12), Special Education Content Areas Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies (P-8) and Educational Leadership (P-12). Drake served as assistant principal at Van R. Butler Elementary prior to coming to Emerald Coast Middle School.
During the month of April, the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association provided the first pre-apprentice assessment workshop for lineman training on the campus of Emerald Coast Technical College. There were nine students in this initial class. The two electric cooperatives represented were Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative and Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative (CHELCO). This training was a collaborative effort among TVPPA, CHELCO, and Walton County School District/ECTC. The training included demonstrating proper climbing techniques — 40 ft. and 70 ft. poles and proper assembly/fitting/inspection of personal lineman equipment/use of climbing tools and gear. Training was both classroom and skills demonstration and integrated safety and rescue. The instructors were provided by TVPPA.
The Walton Academic Team attended the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge from April 19th – 21st in Orlando, Florida. After coming in second out of 5 teams in their competition (4th out of 15 teams) in the first round, they advanced immediately to the semi-finals. The team worked very well together and all of the participants answered questions during the competition. They held their top 3 ranking into the semi-finals. Academic team coaches are Terri Shelley and Carla Griffith from Freeport High School. Team members include Josh Permenter, Walton High School; Jasmine Sumpter, Seacoast Collegiate High School; Jordan Nichols, South Walton High School; Nadia Bock, South Walton High School; and Malcolm Griffith, Freeport High School.
The newest school facility, located in South Walton, has been named Dune Lakes Elementary School, after the unique geography of the area. Coastal Dune Lakes are rare, occurring only in a few places around the world. There are 15 coastal dune lakes found along the beaches of South Walton. Walton County School Board selected the name based on suggestions submitted by parents, teachers, students and constituents in the South Walton area. Plans are for the $35 million new school project to be completed in spring of 2019, with school starting in the new facility in the fall of that year.
Superintendent Hughes is exceedingly proud of Walton County’s graduating students’ accomplishments as they move from one level of education to the next. The graduation rate has increased from 68.4% in 2014 to 82.2% in 2017!