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National Mentoring Month

January 7, 2021

National Mentoring Month is a time to focus national attention on the importance of mentors, and to reflect on how each of us — individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits — can help grow the mentoring movement and the positive effects it has on young people.

Mossy Head School Teacher and ESP of the Year

Mossy Head School would like to announce and congratulate our Teacher of the Year, Ms. Leslie Coone, and our ESP of the year, Ms. Carolyn Ingram.  Ms. Coone is a veteran teacher who continues to develop her instructional methods in order to create a positive, energetic, and yet academic centered classroom. She not only supports in her class, but also supports students and staff school wide. She has played an important role in the development of MHS's House System over the last few years, especially in acquiring the RCA House app for our school this year.

Ms. Ingram always has a smile and offers a helping hand to anyone in need. She not only helps provide healthy meals for MHS students, but also takes time to get to know students and build relationships with them. The care and concern she shows for others helps individual students and supports Mossy Head School's overall goal to create a positive learning environment. Thank you and congratulations to you both, Ms. Coone and Ms. Ingram!

South Walton High School is proud to announce our Teacher of the Year, Christin Barnhart and ESP of the Year, Jessica Bushong.


Mrs. Barnhart teaches Probability and Statistics and Advanced Placement Statistics and is the sponsor of the Seahawk Color Guard and Winter Guard.


Mrs. Bushong is an LPN and our school nurse.

The Walton High School faculty recently voted for Mrs. Holly Harless, Business Ed Teacher, to be the 2020-21 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Harless also serves as an AVID 4 teacher and the FBLA sponsor. 

Ms. Susan Brewer was chosen by her peers to be the 2020-21 ESP of the Year. Ms. Brewer serves the staff and students of Walton High School with a servant's heart and always has a smile on her face. 

Walton High School is proud to honor these ladies!

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.