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May & June 2022

In this Issue:

Did you Know?

Okaloosa County is the only school district in Florida to be designated as an Academically High Performing School District by the Florida Department of Education every year since 2012-2013.

What does it mean to be Academically High Performing?

     Earn a grade of A for two consecutive years;
     has no district-operated schools that earn an "F"
     Complies with ALL class size compliance requirements
     Has NO material weaknesses or instances of material noncompliance noted in its annual independent   financial audit

The Legislature created this distinction to recognize and reward school districts that demonstrate the ability to consistently maintain or improve their high-performing status.

In the Okaloosa County School District
Opportunities are Provided, Passions are Ignited,
and Everyone is Important!

OCSD Spotlight

Superintendent Chambers shares his Memories from the 2021-22 School Year

We have had a great but challenging year in the Okaloosa County School District. Here are some of the memories we have shared packed into nine and a half minutes! Thank you OCSD Family, for another successful school year.

School Safety is our Top Priority

A Message from Superintendent Chambers
Safer, stronger schools are the top priority for the Okaloosa County School District. The tragic events at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, remind us that we must be ever vigilant in taking the necessary steps to keep our children and staff out of harm’s way. No words can express the heartbreak we feel for those families and their community. Each time such a tragedy occurs, it’s natural for all to be grieving the senseless loss of life while at the same time asking honest questions about the safety measures in our own schools. While the following actions are not exhaustive, they form the basic structure of the Okaloosa County School District’s school safety and security protocols.
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Air Force Association Announces 2022 Teachers of the Year

Congratulations to the Okaloosa County School District employees named 2022 Teachers of the Year by the Air Force Association Chapter 398 Hurlburt! The winners were presented with a certificate and a $250 check. They will attend the Annual Awards Recognition Banquet to receive a citation from our district's US Congressman. The Teacher who wins the "Overall Teacher of the Year" title will receive a scholarship to attend the US Space and Rocket Center's Education Space Camp. According to Rick Soria, VP for Aerospace Education, "the purpose of our annual program is to recognize classroom teachers at the chapter, state, and national level for their accomplishments in exciting K-12 students about science and math (STEM) and preparing them to use and contribute to tomorrow's technologies." 
Ms. Christi Rice
4th grade teacher at Wright Elementary School
Ms. Sharleen Nunez
Science teacher at Ruckel Middle School

Human Resources

May Milestones

The following employees are enjoying a milestone this month based on their continuous service date.  Congratulations and thank you for your loyal service and commitment to excellence!

5 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. Childers, Transportation-North
  • Mr. Walker, Transportation- North
  • Mr. Walton, Transportation- South

10 years of continuous service:

  • Mr. Harris, Maintenance Central/South
  • Ms. Ward, Transportation-North

15 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. O'Malley, Accounting

20 years of continuous service:

  • Mr. Bracewell, Custodial Services
  • Ms. Sorlie, Eglin Elementary

25 years of continuous service:

  • Mr. Glover, Maintenance Central/South

June Milestones

5 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. Scaife, Choctawhatchee High

20 years of continuous service:

  • Ms. Cook, Bruner Middle School
  • Mr. Macdonald, Accounting & Financial Report
  • Ms. Meserve, Information Systems

25 years of continuous service:

  • Mr. Myers, Facilities Plan & Maintenance Support

Mental Health Minute

Congratulations to our Newly Appointed Administrators!

Ms. Rebecca Childress

is the new Assistant Principal at Niceville High School. Ms. Childress was a National Board Certified Math teacher, Department Chair, Coach, and Club sponsor at Niceville High School. She is also a Niceville High School Alumna. Congratulations, Ms. Childress!

Ms. Yvonne Michna

is the new Principal of the Ballet Academie. She was formerly Principal of Longwood Elementary School.

Mr. Gary Taylor

is the new Assistant Principal of Baker School. He was formerly the Assistant Principal of Bruner Middle School.

Mr. Joe Jannazo

is the new Principal of Ruckel Middle School. He was formerly Principal of Destin Elementary School.

Mr. Joey Chancellor

is the new Principal of Longwood Elementary School. He was formerly the Assistant Principal of Meigs Middle School.

Ms. Rosia Cahn

is the new Assistant Principal of Bruner Middle School. She was formerly Assistant Principal of Wright Elementary School.

Ms. Susan Geering

is the new Assistant Principal of Antioch Elementary School. She was formerly the Assistant Principal of Shoal River Middle School.

Ms. Suzanne Boyd

is the new Principal of Wright Elementary School. She was formerly Assistant Principal of Kenwood Elementary School.

Mr. Jeff Strumeyer

is the new Assistant Principal of Meigs Middle School. He was formerly the Assistant Principal of Bluewater Elementary School.

Ms. Kayla Nutt

is the new Assistant Principal of Shoal River Middle School. She was formerly Assistant Principal of Ruckel Middle School.

Risk Management

Delta Dental

It has come to the attention of the Okaloosa County School District that some local dentists are no longer accepting Delta Dental Insurance. Representatives from OCSD and Delta Dental have met and will continue to discuss this concern and explore possible solutions. 

The Okaloosa County School District is committed to maintaining a valuable package of benefits. We will continue talks with Delta Dental about servicing OCSD employees in a way that better addresses our needs. These conversations are a priority for us, and we will keep you informed of any changes. 

Important: United Healthcare

Online Training: Vector Solutions

Don’t forget about your online training companion, Vector Solutions. Formerly known as SafeSchools, the name has changed, but the excellent content is the same. If you are hungry for knowledge or need to assign custom-curated training to your staff, look no further than Vector Solutions. Vector Solutions is your resource for K-12 and our new Special Education training through their Course Library. 

To browse the selection, log in to and use your Employee ID (EID) as your Username and peruse all the courses that Vector Solutions offers to help you become more engaged in your role. 


Professional Services

We are proud to announce the Okaloosa County School District has been approved to offer coursework to our Temporary Certificate teachers through the DOE’s Professional Development Certification Program (PDCP). If your temporary certificate expires on June 30, 2024, or later, you may be interested in this certification program.

The Professional Development Certification Program (PDCP) allows participants to forgo college courses and the Professional Education Exam and complete the Statement of Eligibility requirements through professional development coursework. The OCSD-approved program will use professional development coursework provided through Beacon Educator. 

Participants will be working in cohorts, with the option of meeting face-to-face once a month to complete the online professional development courses. Depending on individual requirements, the program can be completed in 12-24 months. 

The total cost, regardless of requirements, is $1320 and can be paid in three installments of $440 or through a payroll deduction option of $110 for twelve months. 

If you or someone you know is interested in teaching with a temporary certificate, please contact for a consultation.


Florida Retirement System Beneficiary

Is your Florida Retirement System beneficiary up-to-date?

You can verify or change your beneficiary information using your FRS Online account.

First-Time Users

If you are setting up your FRS Online account for the first time, click on either the 'Register Here' button or the 'Create Account' link to get started. You will be asked a series of questions to identify yourself securely and set up your FRS Online account. Follow each prompt to complete the process.

Returning Users

If you have already set up your FRS Online but cannot remember your username or password, click the "Forgot Login" link to recover your account information. You will be asked a series of questions to securely identify yourself, retrieve your FRS Online username, and reset your password. Follow each prompt to complete the process.

  • Consider using your personal email address to receive information about your FRS Pension benefit if you change jobs or retire.
  • Log in periodically to view your contact information and ensure it is up to date.
  • Keep your username and password credentials secure.

Questions? If you have any questions about your FRS Pension Plan benefit or using FRS Online, please call toll-free at 844-377-1888 or 850-907-6500.

Florida Retirement System (FRS) Pension Plan

Your Retirement account information is available online at

Frequently Asked Pension Plan Questions

Why should I sign up for an FRS Online account?

FRS Online is a tool all members can use, whether active, renewed, terminated, or retired. In addition to creating and viewing estimates, non-retired members can view a history summary, update their beneficiary designations, view the current Member Annual Statement, apply for a refund of contributions, and elect to receive information from the division directly to their online account. Retired members can view their account information, print a pension income verification letter, adjust federal withholding taxes, authorize or change direct deposit information, and change their mailing address.

How can I get an estimate of my retirement benefits? 

You may log in to your secure FRS Online account to view estimates previously delivered electronically or generate new estimates for future dates. All estimates viewed online may be printed or downloaded. If you are within six months of retirement, you may contact the Division of Retirement for an account audit and a division-verified estimate.

What do I need to do to retire?

The Service Retirement Application Packet is available from the Division of Retirement's website. Select the link to the "Active Member's" page, then click on the "Active Member Forms" link. You may also obtain this application from your agency if you are currently employed.

What is DROP?

The Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) is an elective program available for members of the FRS Pension Plan, Teachers' Retirement System, and the State and County Officers and Employees' Retirement System who are eligible for normal retirement. Under this program, a member effectively retires and continues covered employment for a designated period of time. While in DROP, the member's deferred monthly retirement benefits accumulate earning interest. DROP participants initially enrolled in the FRS prior to July 1, 2011, will also receive cost-of-living adjustments. When the DROP period is over, the participant is required to terminate employment with all FRS employers, under any capacity, to begin receiving the predetermined monthly retirement benefit and the DROP accumulation.

When am I eligible for DROP?

Your window to enter DROP begins when you initially reach normal retirement. For more detailed information, please see the DROP guide located on the division's website under the "Publications" page, then choose "Retirement Guides."

Where can I get additional detailed information?

On the Division of Retirement's website, choose the link to the "Publications" page, where you can view various pension plan publications. Important guides and articles you should read before considering retirement include, but are not limited to: the Member Handbook, Ready. Set. Retire., and DROP.

For additional resources, select the link to the "Active Member's" page, then click on "Helpful Links and Resources for Active Members."

  • Member Annual Statements (MAS): Members receive their MAS during their month of birth. The Division of Retirement emails active Pension Plan and Hybrid Plan participants when their MAS is available from their FRS Online account. If you have an active FRS Online account, you can access your MAS at any time throughout the year once available.

Curriculum and Instruction

Supporting Students with Reading Difficulties

Thirty Exceptional Student Education Teachers in Okaloosa County spent a week learning how to support students with reading difficulties using a direct, systematic, and multi-sensory reading approach. Orton-Gillingham incorporates specialized techniques that our teachers will use while instructing our students struggling with phonics, spelling, and reading. Orton-Gillingham is known to be effective for students with dyslexia but can also help all students learn to read. Our teachers had a great time collaborating, learning new skills, and practicing new techniques with their peers.

Meet Dr. Cheryl R. Seals, Curriculum Specialist

The Okaloosa County School District is committed to maximizing the academic potential of every child. Dr. Cheryl Seals’ number one goal is to work collaboratively with parents, educators, students, and the community in a united effort to assist in helping every student succeed academically.

In her capacity, Dr. Seals will work closely with school and district personnel in developing innovative ways of helping all students to achieve educational excellence. Through this united effort, the goal is for every student to achieve academic excellence in order to be college and/or career ready. Dr. Seals stresses the importance of helping to continue to create a school culture that cultivates grace, empathy, love, and compassion into the students’ learning experiences on their pathway to achieving high academic standards.

To help every student succeed academically, Dr. Seals is committed to high levels of student achievement for all of our students. Students will be able to increase their proficiency by being afforded the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills through rigorous and relevant learning opportunities. Several educational initiatives will occur in an effort to increase academic achievement for students. These initiatives will strengthen the academic portion of students’ school experience and assist in efforts to help close the achievement gap. Some of the initiatives that Dr. Seals will focus on will include:

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Services for Students

Research shows children who participate in high-quality VPK programs:

  • • Perform better on standardized tests
  • • Have better school attendance rates
  • • Develop lifelong social and emotional skills
  • • Are less likely to drop out of school

School-Based Mentoring

Mentoring can have a substantial positive impact on student achievement. Benefits of mentoring students include:

  • Increased high school graduation rates
  • A positive attitude about school
  • Higher college enrollment rates and higher educational aspirations
  • Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Improved behavior -both at home and at school
  • Stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers
  • Improved interpersonal skills

Increased Parental Involvement

Parental involvement and academic achievement are directly proportional to each other. It has a positive impact on the academic and overall achievement levels of students. Benefits of parental involvement for students Include:

  • • Increased academic achievement
  • • Better school attendance
  • • Encourages students to be more involved in school activities
  • • Positive behavior
  • • Higher graduation rates


Focus Training

Optional training for our new Student Information System will be available for teachers who are eager to get a head- start throughout the month of July. Teachers are not required to attend summer PD on Focus. The August 8th District Professional Development Day will be used solely for Focus training.  Dates, times, and locations of summer training opportunities can be found on our website and are being added regularly.
School Performance Plan Update

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Leo Tolstoy

Teams of OCSD family members sprang into action, creating and tweaking elements of next years’ School Performance Plan. These plans identify goals, measurable objectives, and action steps designed to increase the achievement of all students. The SPP is the guiding document for a school’s significant initiatives to improve school performance. It is informed by data, needs assessments, and feedback from administrators and faculty. 

Many of you were asked for feedback or to attend SPP workshops. Thanks to everyone who participated in preparing this plan to reduce the gap between performance and potential. All of you are an integral part of planning for academic excellence and continuous learning in our next generation of Okaloosa County schools!

2022-2023 School Calendar

School calendars for the 2022-2023 school year through the 2023-2024 school year can be found here.

Material Adoptions

The Okaloosa County School District is currently examining materials for adoption to be used in elementary, middle, and high school math classes. Links and login information are available on for teachers, parents, and members of the public wishing to review the materials being considered.
Copyright © 2022 Okaloosa County School District, All rights reserved.

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