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Walton  County wishes to thank all of their District mentors!  The success of children is a collaborative effort with schools, parents and wonderful community supporters like YOU!  Thank you for giving your time to help us continue our journey to being the #1 school district in the state!   

On Homecoming night, Paxton School and the community had another reason to come together and celebrate.  Coach Tommy Pittman, former girls’ basketball coach, was honored for his years at Paxton.  Surrounded by our superintendent, administration, current coaches, and his former players, it was announced that the Paxton gymnasium would be known as the Tommy Pittman Gym from this day forward. 

We Launched into Literacy at Dune Lakes Elementary School this week!  These pictures were taken before launching the buses after a long day of reading, inferences, writing and determining authors purpose!  It sounds Really hard and it can be, but it is soooo much fun for children when they love their school and their school and district loves them!  Superintendent Hughes had an opportunity to stop, talk and thank some of our Most Amazing Bus Drivers and Aides who help make sure our babies get home safely.  The compassion and dedication of our ESP’s are EPIC throughout! 

What a magnificent honor that is bestowed upon the WCSD from the work, dedication and Exceptional Academic Performance of Sebastian Epplin!  He has been nominated/recommended by Congressman Matt Gaetz to attend the United States Naval Academy.  Mr. and Mrs. Epplin, SWHS Administration, Faculty-Staff and the entire WCSD is so extremely proud of Sebastian for his well rounded life that includes Lacrosse and many other Extracurricular Activities that accompany his academic prowess.  Go Do Great things Sebastian, we are with you 100%; It’s the Walton County Way!  #EPIC4wRd!!!!!

Last weekend, ECMS student Thomas Cook participated in the Florida All-State Middle School Band in Tampa. Thomas auditioned for the band back in September and was chosen along with 13 other trumpet players. He auditioned for chair placement on Thursday and earned first chair, naming him the top middle school trumpet player in the state! Congratulations, Thomas!

Reading supports children’s imagination and unlocks new worlds! The New Worlds Reading Initiative is a FREE book delivery program created to help K-5 students build at-home libraries and encourage a love for reading. For more info on eligibility, visit


COVID Update January 21, 2022

In the spirit of transparency, the Walton County School District (WCSD) will continue to update our stakeholders with COVID-19 data for the 2021-2022 school year. 

COVID-19 Statistics

Single Day Data


% of total population (students and staff ~ 13,000)

Overall Data to Date

(8/10/21 – 1/20/22)

% of total population (students and staff ~ 13,000)

Positive COVID-19 Cases

of School District Students and/or Employees






Quarantined Due to On Campus Exposure of School District Students and/or Employees






Quarantined Due to Off Campus Exposure (Community/Family Exposure) of School District Students and/or Employees






Schools Involved in Positive Cases and/or Exposure






Walton County School District COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for the 2021-2022 School Year

  1. If a person is sick (students, teachers, staff, and visitors), they should stay home.
  2. Face covering is optional for all, including the bus.
  3. Hand sanitizer is available at various areas inside the school.
  4. Social distancing from others is encouraged as much as possible.
  5. Signs will be displayed to remind those in schools about social distancing, as well as the use of hand sanitizer, washing of hands, and face coverings.
  6. Cleaning and disinfecting school facilities/buses which are occupied by students will be done daily.
  7. Adequate mitigation supplies are on hand at all schools/facilities (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, masks, etc.).
  8. COVID-19 vaccination is optional for all students and employees.
  9. COVID-19 contact tracing is occurring in all schools/facilities (2021-2022 WCSD Decision Tree for employees and students).
  10. At this time non-essential visitors and volunteers are not allowed to enter schools. This mitigation strategy will be revisited in the next few weeks.

*Please keep in mind that although COVID positive cases may represent a student or staff member within the WCSD, it does not necessarily indicate that the virus originated within the WCSD.  It is also important to note that a portion of the positive cases involve individuals who may have never entered the school setting while sick due to proper quarantining. 


Kathryn Benson

Named Administrator of Magnet Programs

As the daughter of a teacher and a minister, Ms. Benson has been surrounded by education and people who passionately support it her entire life. She has served as a teacher in Florida and internationally on mission. During her time as a high school teacher and college instructor, she taught across multiple subject areas in remedial through advance courses, helping boost the high school’s grade and significantly improve its graduation rate by working tirelessly to serve her students’ best interests. After serving in the classroom, she was tapped for school administration to amplify her in support of every student within the school. As an administrator, Ms. Benson has worked as an Assistant Principal of both a middle school in Nassau County and elementary school in Marion County.  In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, supporting and participating in the arts, and cheering on her beloved Gators.


Ms. Benson shared, “I am thrilled to be a part of the Walton County School family and am excited to serve the students of the best school district in the state! I’ve been impressed with the remarkable achievements the students and staff of WCSD have accomplished under the inspiring leadership of Superintendent Hughes and his team. The paradigm WCSD had created in partnership with St. Joe for world-class magnet programming has astounding results.  These magnet programs bolster student engagement in relevant skill instruction that equips students to be the best candidates for college and career endeavors immediately upon graduation, which is life-changing for students and strengthens our phenomenal community even further. I very much look forward to cultivating partnerships with our community in the coming days, months, and years ahead as we soar to heights unparalleled together in service of our students.”


Please join Superintendent A. Russell Hughes in welcoming Ms. Kathryn “Kate” Benson to Walton County and the Magnet Innovation Center at St. Joe WaterSound.