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Seaside School welcomes new head, teachers

Posted on Sep 01, 2017 in Seaside Neighborhood School , new teachers , September-October 2017

Left to Right: New staff for Seaside School include Cary Hall, Annette Railey, Dr. Scott O’Prey, Tanya Acevedo and Emily Velazquez. Photo by Leslie Wood

Dr. Scott O’Prey, 58, was named head of school for Seaside School, Inc. and principal of Seacoast Collegiate High School (SCHS) in July.

Before coming to Seaside School, O’Prey, who is a 36-plus-year seasoned academic administrator, led a K-8 charter school in Georgia for four years, where he served as principal and superintendent of the local education agency.

A native of New York who lived in Texas for 19 years, O’Prey graduated from the State University of New York, College at Cortland and began his teaching career in Houston, Texas, as a junior high social studies teacher. He also taught government, United States and world history, geography and economics at the high school level. O’Prey completed his master’s degree at Sam Houston State University in Texas and went on to serve as an assistant principal at the middle school and high school levels. He completed his doctorate in educational administration and supervision from the University of Houston.

Seacoast Collegiate High School is O’Prey’s seventh principal position leading schools serving kindergarten through 12th grade. He, his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Adrienne, have relocated here from Atlanta. His eldest daughter, Lauren, is a school teacher in Augusta, Ga.

“We have visited this area for 20-some years as vacationers and absolutely love the area,” Scott O’Prey said. “The reputation of Seaside Schools is phenomenal; it is one of the top school systems in the country. We are small, but mighty. And that’s what really made it attractive.”

As head of schools, O’Prey’s primary goal will be to work with his staff to continue to improve the school system’s ranking. “We want to be number one,” he said.

Being new to the community, O’Prey is looking forward to putting faces with names. “Relationships in the education arena are incredibly important,” he said. “Being a small school I have the opportunity to develop personal relationships with every family and I’m tremendously excited about that. We have an open-door policy and I invite all students and parents to come see me.”

When he has free time, O’Prey is just as dedicated to his personal passions. “I run and am so looking forward to the Seaside Half Marathon in March! I also love to read, and that’s what I do at night. I always find some time to read something whether just a novel or a professional journal,” he said.

SCHS also welcomes several new teachers to his A-list team — Cary Hall (language arts); Annette Railey (science); Tanya Acevedo Questelle (Spanish).

Karen McCarthy also joins as a guidance assistant for 11th and 12th grade posted at the Northwest Florida State College campus.

Seaside Neighborhood School Principal Kim Mixson, who has been on board since the school was established in 1996, returns for her 21st year. She is thrilled that Seaside Schools ranked 8th in the state for overall test scores.

“I am really proud of what our students have been able to achieve with the support of their parents, our teachers and the community,” she said. “We are headed into this year with great momentum.”

She also is proud to welcome Emily Velazquez to the Seaside School family. She will be teaching math at Seaside Neighborhood School. In addition to fresh new faces, thanks to Seaside Community Development Corp., Seaside Neighborhood School welcomes its students with new decking.

“This year is an exciting time for Seaside School, Inc.,” said incoming Seaside School, Inc. Board Chair Shawn Chick. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but we have a beautiful roadmap to get us there and I have no doubt, all the people involved will work brilliantly together to get us there, and I am excited and grateful to get to be a part of it.”