School Board Approves New Administrators
The Okaloosa County School Board approved the following new administrators at the April 8, 2019, 2019, School Board Meeting: Michelle Heck, Principal of Choctawhatchee High School, and Stephanie Wheat, Principal of Silver Sands School.
Michelle K. Heck – Principal of Choctawhatchee High School
Being from an Air Force family, Michelle Heck grew up all over the United States as well as the world. After graduating high school in Virginia, she attended Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Virginia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History (1996). She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma (2006) and a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University (2012).
Heck has spent the majority of her 22-year career in education right here in Okaloosa County. As things come full circle, it is ironic that her first year in education was at Choctawhatchee High School in an Ed Support position as a classroom assistant in a reading classroom. At that same time, she was named the Head Coach of the girls’ soccer program. After that first year, Michelle joined the Social Studies Department and taught a variety of courses including Advanced Placement and those within the International Baccalaureate Program and continued coaching the Big Green Indians until 2004.
Michelle rejoined the Air Force life when she married Brian in 2004, at which time they spent two years overseas on assignment in the Azores, Portugal. Upon returning back to Okaloosa County School District and to Choctawhatchee High School in 2006, she was approached by her principal, Cindy Gates to discuss leadership opportunities within Choctawhatchee while continuing to teach in the Social Studies department. It was with complete support and encouragement that she began her Masters in Educational Leadership degree.
In 2011, Heck relocated with her husband to Anchorage, Alaska for his final active duty assignment. While in Alaska, she finished her final courses for her Educational Leadership degree, completed an internship in 2012 at Bartlett High School and was then named Assistant Principal at Robert Service High School in 2013.
In the summer of 2014, Michelle and her husband, Brian, celebrated his Air Force retirement and returned home to Okaloosa County. She was named Assistant Principal at Choctawhatchee High School from 2014 to 2017. In May 2017, Michelle was named the Principal of Meigs Middle School where she has served the incredible faculty, staff, and students since. She has been happily married to her wonderful husband, Brian, for nearly 15 years and they have three young children: Thomas, a 6th grader at Meigs; Abbigail, a 4th grader at the Ballet Academie; and Marilyn, a 2nd grader at Kenwood.
Stephanie Wheat – Principal of Silver Sands School
Stephanie Wheat is a product of Okaloosa County, after moving to Fort Walton Beach when her father retired from the Air Force, she attended Pryor Middle School and graduated from Choctawhatchee High School. She has her Bachelors in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education and Music from Mississippi University for Women. Stephanie has worked with children who have disabilities for over 20 years, beginning as a camp counselor for students with severe mental and physical abilities, which gave her a desire to teach these special students.
After returning to Okaloosa County to teach, she worked at Mary Esther Elementary as the ESE Resource teacher and later as a Teacher on Special Assignment in Guidance. Wheat earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida in 2008 and was selected as the Assistant Principal at Ruckel Middle School a few years later. In 2016, she was selected as the Assistant Principal for Edwins Elementary.
Stephanie lives in Fort Walton Beach and has been married to husband, Jay Wheat, for 16 years in May. They have two beautiful children, Victoria and Alexander. They attend First United Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach where Stephanie sings in the Praise Band and leads the Children’s Choir.