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WDE students had a great time exploring games/activities on math and science night for K-2. Students were able to practice grade level skills through fun games and STEM projects. First grade students thought the STEM table was creative and engaging!

Submitted by Jessica Dawkins


On Friday, January 26, the Walton High School Chorus had the honor of performing before the parade to honor WWII Prisoner of War Ewart Sconiers’s return to Defuniak Springs. His remains had been missing for 73 years, and he was finally returned to DeFuniak Springs where he was laid to rest at Southwide Baptist Church. The community rallied with flags and patriotism, and Walton Singers alternated performing with the Bee Bops from West DeFuniak Elementary. It was an honor to be a part of this event and to get to pay respects for someone who gave his life for our country. Submitted by Christy English.

WHS Sconiers

FES families participated in a night of Reading and Math challenges designed to help them "escape" from grade level rooms. The engaging and fun learning activities provided parents an opportunity for family-school interaction. Almost 300 parents and children attended the event.  Submitted by Nancy Currie.

Paxton's Middle School STEM Club participated in a Lego competition Saturday, January 20.  Prior to the expo, students were challenged to devise ways to improve the use of water. They decided to focus on the people of Guatemala. Students developed a plan to deliver water to the community by creating a reservoir at high elevation on the mountain with pipes that run down two different points throughout the community. 

The day of the competition, students participated in three interviews, and presented a values poster where they were tasked with explaining how they worked as a team displaying professionalism, and what this project has meant to them. In addition, the group presented their robotics design and explained how they work together as a team to overcome challenges, as well as presented the robot they designed and explained how they problem solved to come up with the attachments they created.  Submitted by Kalli McMillan.

Mrs. McLaney's fourth grade class at WDE enjoyed being outside and reading today for Literacy Week. They all "found themselves in a book." Submitted by Jessica Dawkins.

WDE Read

WDE Read

Paxton High School Art club helped to design and create a jellyfish for the E.O.Wilson Biophilia center.  The jellyfish is part of their recycling center for plastic bags.  The jellyfish is made up of entirely plastic grocery bags and recycled magazines.  

Submitted by Corrine Wilson

Freeport Middle School art students were treated to a special day full of community art.  Their day began at the glass studio of Russ Gilbert.  Following the wonderful glass studio, they ate lunch with artist Bryan Hand as he discussed his artwork.  They spent their afternoon at 30A Artists at Gulf Place with Dwight!  This was a special time to learn and share the art of our Walton Community.

submitted by Kendra Peloquin

Pictured: A. Russell Hughes, Superintendent; Kim Kirby, School Board Member; Gail Smith, School Board Member; Joan Kennett, Teacher of the Year; Renee Patrick, ESP of the Year; Marsha Winegarner, School Board Member; Jason Catalano, School Board Member

The Walton County School District is proud to announce the 2018 Teacher and Educational Support Professional of the Year. All honorees were recognized at a special awards ceremony at Walton High School on the evening of January 23, 2018

The Teacher of the Year award went to South Walton High School biology instructor Joan Kennett. Ms. Kennett is a passionate and committed teacher.  As a 27-year veteran teacher, she has taught in Atlanta, Georgia, southern Indiana, and is currently in her fifth-year teaching biology at South Walton High School. 

Ms. Kennett earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kennesaw State College and received her Gifted Credentials from West Georgia College.  Ms. Kennett creates a stimulating, high quality, challenging learning environment that promotes students to excel in STEM.  Bringing her energy to the classroom, Ms. Kennett takes pride in her hands-on activities that engage, excite, and make learning fun.  To enrich and challenge students in STEM, Ms. Kennett was awarded grants from Walton Education Foundation and the National Defense Industrial Association ACCELerator Program.  Ms. Kennett implemented the Lab Coat Award given to students who diligently achieve outstanding science merit by completing and meeting the rigorous award criteria. 

As Student Government Association sponsor, Ms. Kennett motivates student leaders within the school and community, instilling the utmost regard for integrity and character.  One of the most successful and illustrious Student Government projects is the “Senior Citizen Prom”.  As a teacher leader, Ms. Kennett is actively involved as a teacher mentor and advocate for developing best classroom practices.  In the spring of 2017, Ms. Kennett’s students scored 97% and ranked fifth in the state on the biology state test. Ms. Kennett expressed what a privilege it is to represent the excellence of teachers, staff, administrators, school board members, and students in the Walton County School District.  

Ms. Kennett shared "I want to be better tomorrow than I was today.  My kids are very important to me, and I love watching them grow...see them strive to do their very best! I always encourage them to do their best, and be their best." 


Pictured: Superintendent Hughes; Joan Kennett, Teacher of the Year

The Educational Support Professional of the Year award goes to Ms. Renee Patrick.  Ms. Patrick is an ESE Paraprofessional with the Walton County School District. She has been with the district going on 13 years.  Ms. Patrick has had the pleasure of working at Bay Elementary, Paxton School, Walton Vocational School, and presently Walton High School.  She attended Northwest Florida Community College and graduated in 2003 with an A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education, all while working and raising her children as a single parent and maintaining a spot on the Dean’s list.

 Ms. Patrick finds true fulfillment in her duties as an ESE paraprofessional. She welcome the challenges of the unknown with her special needs students, all while taking whatever the situation may be as an opportunity to show them that it is going to be okay because whatever the issues may be, they will conquer it together.

Ms. Patrick’s philosophy on work, play, and life in general is staying positive even with all that is going on in our world. Do the right thing and everything will fall in its proper place of gratitude.

Pictured: Joan Kennett; Renee Patrick

Pictured: M.H. Carr, Walton Education Foundation; Joan Kennett, Teacher of the Year: Alexis Tibbetts, SWHS Principal

Superintendent A. Russell Hughes has upheld his promise and commitment to expand the recognition of the Walton County School District Teacher and Educational Support Professional in EPIC fashion through collaboration with the Walton Education Foundation and local community and business partners.  

As part of her award package, Teacher of the Year winner Joan Kennett from South Walton High School will have the use of a brand new GLA250 Mercedes Benz for the next year, courtesy of ZT Motors of Fort Walton Beach.  

Mr. Hughes extends his thanks to those who contributed gifts and awards totaling over $10,000 for the TOY and ESP winners!  "We are blessed to have such gracious and generous community support, and we appreciate their investment in our dedication to provide high quality education for our students!" 

Submitted by Keitha Bledsoe

Submitted by Keitha Bledsoe

Third and fifth grade students at WDE explored the science of skateboarding.  Pro skaters showed off their coolest moves and students helped to figure out how skateboarding works! The interactive presentation covered distribution of force, center of mass, center of gravity and inertia.

Submitted by Jessica Dawkins