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In recognition of Women’s History Month, Superintendent Hughes would like to recognize some of the leading ladies that are making a difference in the Walton County School District.  WCSD is one of the few districts that have two leading ladies taking Facilities forward in EPIC fashion. 

Jill W. Smith 

            Jill Smith began serving as the Director of Facilities and Maintenance for Walton County School District in July 2019. Ms. Smith has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies – Policy from the University of West Florida and is currently completing a Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University. She began her career as an Environmental, Health and Safety Manager in 2002 at Wilco Industrial Services. In 2005 she was promoted to Administrative Vice President in 2005 and then Executive Vice President in 2008. During her tenure at Wilco Industrial Services, Ms. Smith became a licensed contractor in Louisiana and Mississippi in the classifications of heavy construction, dredging, coastal restoration and habitat enhancement, earthwork, levees and drainage, dewatering and clearing and grubbing. After leaving Wilco Industrial Services in 2012, she became a Science Teacher in Walton County School District, where she remained until 2018. During that time, she taught at Walton High School from 2012 to 2016 and South Walton High School from 2016 to 2018. In 2018, Ms. Smith chose to pursue a career in the private sector and became a Project Manager with Parsons Corporation, where she remained until returning to Walton County School District as the Director of Facilities and Maintenance.


Michelle B. Doggett 

            Michelle Doggett has served as the School District Facilities Planner for Walton County School District since December 2017. Ms. Doggett has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida. Ms. Doggett has worked in Walton County School District for over 34 years. She began her career as a Purchasing Clerk in the Finance Department in 1984. In 1991, Ms. Doggett obtained a teaching position at Walton High School, where she stayed until 2011. During her tenure at Walton High School, she was an ESE teacher for 5 years and DCT Teacher for 15 years. In 2011, Ms. Doggett obtained the position of Teacher on Special Assignment, Energy Specialist in the Facilities and Maintenance Department. In 2017, Ms. Doggett was promoted to School District Facilities Planner. In the midst of her employment with Walton County School District, Ms. Doggett also served as the Executive Director for Walton Education Foundation from 2012 to 2015 and worked as a Real Estate Associate for Abbott & Andrews Realty from 2000-2001.

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has released their most recent Economic Security Report. The report details the economic outcomes of recent completers from our public postsecondary institutions. Please consider it a useful tool to generate conversations about the potential of the credentials offered by our area technical centers, state colleges and/or universities.

Encouraging families to start college and career conversations early will likely result in higher persistence and success rates. Moreover, it is a statutory requirement to provide a summary of the DEO’s annual Economic Security Report to parents of students in grades 6-12. The 2020 report and summary is now posted at

Florida’s Economic Security Report is just one of the many college and career planning tools available to students and their families. For more information and resources, visit or

Mr. Hughes Visits Opening Day at the Little League Park 

Little League season is an anticipated event each year and Opening Day, Saturday, March 27, 2021 was no exception! Community residents and children were greeted by Mr. Hughes who was able to quickly take several of his favorite “selfies!” 

Everyone in the WCSD learns, gets trained and works extremely hard.  After thanking Mr. Randy Murray for his extraordinary years of service in the WCSD, our ENTIRE Maintenance Staff is being trained on Blood Born Pathogens, Mandatory Reporting and Student Safety!  No Exceptions when it comes to student safety, safe schools, and High Expectations!  Not a complaint or groaning uttered as these men and women entered this training for the good of children!  Superintendent Hughes enjoyed his time with this department today; it takes us all to get this done for children.  Simply put “EPIC is the Way!”  #handongainon


Spring is in the air and the displays of Butterfly Artwork is well on display at Bay School.  Mrs. Roberts class shared with Superintendent Hughes their creations done by families during spring break now being shown in the main hall of the school. That’s transformed into a Gallery!  It’s not just the exhibits being taught but teachers were teaching the soft skills and appropriate behavior in a Gallery; that’s the “C” in culture that’s emphasized this year wit the expanded EPIC Theme!  Parents, families and staff thanks for being a part of this creation!  EPIC is the way!

Sharon Richardson, from Eta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, recently presented Mrs. Sarah Infinger-LaPorte, 5th grade teacher at MSE with a grant check to purchase 2 new skeletons for the 5th Grade Science Department.

Artists Among Us at WMS

March 24, 2021

In Ms. Brittany Grant’s art class at Walton Middle School, sixth graders have been independently researching artists to learn about various styles.  They then presented their learning to the class.  Mrs. Grant then taught students how museum curators select works to display.  After, WMS’ very own student museum curators chose their best works from their researched artists to hang in their museum gallery.  As a third opportunity to incorporate their artists’ styles, students sculpted 3D characters to visit their museum space.  If you find yourself at WMS, take a gallery walk down the main hallway and check out the talented artists among us.

Maori Style at FMS

March 24, 2021

The Freeport Middle School Art Department studied the culture and art of the people who live in the Mitai Maori Village in New Zealand.  We studied the haka and poi dances and their hangi way of cooking in the ground.  The students painted paper strips in Maori style with gouache and wove them into a wall hanging for their classroom.  Way to go students!!!

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Students learn best when they create their own ideas, and AVID “one-pagers” allow students to creatively respond to something they have read or learned.  Through one-pagers, learners respond imaginatively and concisely, showing connections between central concepts.  The audience viewing the one-pager should clearly understand the student’s understanding because essential elements are creatively displayed on just one page.

After reading S.E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders with their students, WMS’ seventh grade ELA teachers Miss Tara Manson and Mrs. Chastity McLaney gave opportunities for student creativity to flourish for their third nine weeks exam.  Students created digital posters about the text using PowerPoint or Word, the internet, the novel, and their own thoughts.  On the one-pagers, students selected three significant quotes from the novel and explained their significance, as well as essential vocabulary needed to understand the text.  They also explained how the author develops the “outsider” theme throughout the book.  Students paired graphics and savvy visual design with these literary elements to make eye-catching posters.

Through this AVID-style exam alternative, students were able to creatively display their unique thinking.  Mrs. McLaney and Miss Manson continually collaborate to design creative opportunities for students to own their learning in seventh grade ELA.

Teachers and staff at all Freeport-area schools explored strategies for building “grit” in a joint virtual professional development. Guest speaker Dr. Lauren Eskreis-Winkler of Northwestern University shared her knowledge on the science of grit and how this unique combination of passion and perseverance leads to long-term success. She evidenced how some of the most successful professionals, athletes, and students all possess specific grit qualities and habits. Freeport schools will look to encourage build this positive trait in their students collectively.