Escambia County School District

Escambia County School District

A third-grade teacher at Montclair Elementary School has been named Escambia County’s Teacher of the Year.

“I’ve always just naturally wanted to teach,” said Briana McCreary, and she has been doing just that, teaching, for as long as she can remember. “Whether it was teaching my teddy bears, my baby dolls, upgraded to my younger cousins, I teach dance through praise dances with my church, any opportunity. Vacation bible school, I was always trying to lead and teach somebody something.”

Escambia County School District

Malcolm Thomas served three four-year terms as Superintendent of Schools in Escambia County, the district’s last person to be elected to the office.

After his departure, he spoke to WUWF about the end of his long career in education.

In part-two of the conversation, the focus is on the future of the Escambia County School District.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Malcolm Thomas served 12 years as Superintendent of Schools in Escambia County, the district’s last elected superintendent. He turned over the reins to the district’s first-ever appointed superintendent in November.

After his departure, WUWF spoke to Thomas about his 3-terms in office and the close of his 40-years in education.

Holm Elementary

Five days after Hurricane Sally came ashore on the Florida-Alabama Gulf Coast, dumping more than 20 inches of rain, schools in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties reopened today. However, Escambia County schools remain closed until Wednesday.

Monday evening update:

Quinn Evans/Sandra Averhart / Brentwood Elementary School/WUWF Public Media

After a late start due to the pandemic, all public school students in Northwest Florida are back in class, whether in-person or via Remote Learning. To find out what both approaches look like, from the student perspective, I’m checking back with two of my young relatives on their return to school in the Escambia County School District. One is reporting for face-to-face instruction and the other has opted to stay at home.

Choices, Anxiety and Preparation

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

After nearly a month of virtual learning due to the coronavirus, Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas has had a chance to see the successes and challenges of educating the district's 40,000 students outside the classroom. 

“Well, I think it’s gone as well as you could expect; we’re seeing progress each week,” said Thomas in regards to his assessment of the distance learning taking place throughout the district.

The Escambia County School Board is moving ahead with its search for the district’s first-ever appointed superintendent. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the panel appointed the members of a Citizens Advisory Committee that will assist in the selection process, which is still on track despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We approved the appointment of 22 individuals to serve as our workgroup to help us in reviewing the applications,” said board chairwoman Patty Hightower, who’s been overseeing the search process.


With schools across the state closing because of the coronavirus, students of all ages are continuing the spring semester at home.

“As we’ve moved to remote instruction, we’ve had to move to remote advising and remote student services, and we’ve done it in a way that continues the important support that our students need," said University of West Florida President Martha Saunders in a video talking about the transition to online learning and student life at UWF.

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Local school districts are making plans on the fly as the response to the coronavirus continues to evolve. If there was any good news for local school superintendents it’s that this week was already a scheduled week off for spring break.

"The plan was always to use our custodial staff this week to completely deep-clean all the classrooms,” said Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

Pensacola High School

The Florida Department of Education has released graduation rates for 2019. Statewide, there was a slight increase of .08 percentage points to 86.9%.

With one exception, there also were gains in graduation rates in school districts across region.

“Well, the news is that for 2019 our graduation rate for on-time graduation is 84.8%,” said Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas. This marks a 4.1% increase of 2018, when the rate was 80.7%.

Question: how do you feed more than 40,000 children two to three meals per day, five days a week, for 180 school days? WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody recently visited the Escambia County School District to find out.

Lunch time at Ferry Pass Middle School is where more than 1,000 students are served daily. The kids come to the cafeteria in separate waves – rather, shifts.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In the aftermath of the deadly mass shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida, school safety and security has been pushed to the forefront.

The February 2018 shooting in Parkland left 17 people, students and staff, dead. Seventeen people were injured.

With the new school year now underway, district officials here in Northwest Florida provided an update on some of the measures they’ve taken to improve campus safety.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Summer is over for students in Northwest Florida, as they head back to class Monday for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

There is a lot of optimism for the new year, and offiials have been checking off a long list of things that had to be done to get ready. 

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A review of school grades issued by the Florida Department of Education for 2018-19 shows increases in student achievement across northwest Florida.

Escambia County School District

After five previous defeats, a narrow majority of voters in Escambia County finally approved a 2018 referendum to switch from an elected school superintendent to an appointed one.

The Escambia County School District is now laying the groundwork for hiring the district’s top administrator by next fall.

To help with the process, board members have hired a search team from the Florida School Boards Association; the estimated cost is $25,000.