CRESTVIEW — With the new school year’s start, Northwood and Riverside Elementary Schools and Shoal River Middle School will have new principals.
Two of the principals will transfer to Crestview from out of state, while current Edwins Elementary School Principal Cheree Davis will move to Shoal River.
Okaloosa County School District Superintendant Mary Beth Jackson said she is "very excited" about the potential the new principals bring to Crestview schools.
At the school year’s end, teachers and principals throughout the district often request new assignments for various reasons. "It starts a domino effect," Jackson said.
Shoal River principal Paul Whiddon requested to return to his previous assignment at Ruckel Middle School in Niceville, Jackson said.
Marline Van Dyke, current Riverside principal, requested to be transferred to a school closer to her south county home, Jackson said.
Northwood Elementary principal Jacqueline Craig requested a transfer as principal or an assistant principal to another Crestview elementary school, Jackson said.
With 25 years as an educator, new Northwood principal Dr. Donna Goode has helmed Owens Cross Roads Elementary School in Huntsville, Ala., for 14 years.
"She took the school from a D to an A in one year," Jackson said. "She's been a nominee for the National Elementary School Principal of the Year."
Construction has begun at Northwood as the school becomes a fine and performing arts center, Jackson said, and Goode aid the transition.
"She's just a very humble, sweet person," Jackson said. "I think she's going to be amazing for that school."
Tammy Matz, a 12-year principal at Virgil Grissom Middle School in Mishawaka, Ind., will assume Riverside Elementary’s top job.
"She is full of energy," Jackson said. "They have already gone through the whole common core curriculum piece and we have not. She is going to be very valuable."
"I'mexcited to work with the teachers from Riverside Elementary to provide the students with a safe, engaging, educational experience that will help each student meet their academic potential," Matz said in an email.
Becoming Shoal River’s principal allows Cheree Davis to shorten her commute to across her hometown of Crestview.
"She is so excited about being close to home," Jackson said. "Middle school is her first love and she is so excited to be back in that. She is a very dynamic and a smart woman."
A committee within the school district administration selected the new Crestview principals. The school district lacks a large applicant pool to select from, so the search allowed candidates from outside the district.
Jackson refrained from involvement until after the committee made its recommendations, which she took to the school board.
Bringing in new educators can offer a different point of view that can be healthy for a school, she said.
"Sometimes we go outside (the district) and it just so happens that these people applied," Jackson said.
"I didn't get to meet them until after the committee made their decision. After meeting them, I can see why the committee picked them.
"It's going to be kind of weird because some of these people will be completely new to us. But I am excited about the opportunities a new viewpoint brings."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.