The Governing Board of the upcoming new, tuition-free public charter high school Destin High School (DHS) has officially announced the hiring of its new Principal, Christine Cruickshank. DHS will be located on the Grace Lutheran property, retro-fitted as a high school, located at 4325 Commons Drive West, next to the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village.
Prebble Ramswell, President of the Governing Board, said, “Christine Cruickshank is highly-credentialed and possesses all the qualities of a strong Principal. She is a natural leader with a clear vision of the mission and goals of DHS and is already embracing her primary responsibilities as Principal which includes shaping a vision of academic success for all students, cultivating leadership in others, and hiring, developing, and retaining excellent teachers. We are thrilled to have her on staff. This key leadership role is essential in achieving a successful 2021 – 2022 school year opening at the renovated Grace Lutheran property in Destin.”
Cruickshank, a local who has lived in the Northwest Florida area since 2007, and a resident of Niceville for the past several years, was selected from a pool of nearly 200 candidates from across the country. Since 2010 she has served as the Assistant Principal of the Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College, also a charter high school, as well as being a part-time Adjunct Professor of History at the college since 2008.
Cruickshank has 35 years of experience focused on education and teaching. Obtaining numerous degrees, including an Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction/Instructional Technology and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of West Florida, and a Master of Science in History Education in North Carolina, she also has a long history of teaching in North Carolina, Southern Florida, and Northwest Florida. She even started teaching in her senior year of college while attending Millersville University in Pennsylvania. Over the years, Cruickshank has extensively interacted with her students in many ways. For example, she has coached Track & Field, Dance and Tennis; taken on student activities such as community service, Homecomings and Proms; and directed many student extracurricular activities and clubs. Her detailed education and teaching Curriculum Vitae can be found online at www.destinhighschool.org
It is also important to note that Cruickshank has had extensive experience as a school leader in the AdvancED/SACS Accreditation process for schools from day care to high school. This will be of utmost importance for DHS to acquire the initial accreditation in the first or second year, and then a process that has to be updated and renewed every five years.
Another experience Cruickshank has under her belt is overseeing one of her favorite projects, the Senior Capstone Project. This is a process whereby students at the end of their Junior year undertake a major project of career research and decision making in a subject specific to the individual student’s personally chosen career interests. Students then write a research paper and do a presentation at the end of their Senior year before a panel of judges. Often, the students also volunteer or intern in the summer months in the field they have selected for their Capstone Project.
Cruickshank, excited to be in her new position, commented, “I am so looking forward to a successful launch of DHS, beginning with interacting with students and parents, conducting meet and greets, hosting small group tours of the facility, and listening to student feedback on what they want. After all, it is their school. In many ways, I see education and teaching as customer service. But one of the most important things on the docket just now is having students fill out their applications on-line at www.DestinHighSchool.org
and turn them in from Jan. 4 to 29. Or potential new students and their families can personally meet with me on those same days between 2 - 6 p.m., at Grace Lutheran to complete an application and ask any questions they may have. Just call the admissions /application line (850) 225-7620, or email me at email@example.com
During the first application period students entering grades 9, 10 and 11 should apply. The number of 11th grade applicants in this period will determine the feasibility of offering 11th grade classes in the 2021-2022 school year.
In addition to offering advanced and state-mandated core curriculum, DHS will utilize a place-based approach to learning that will take advantage of the local geography, industry, and community. This will allow the school to offer additional curriculum opportunities through authentic, meaningful, and engaging personalized learning for their students.
The DHS Governing Board and Principal Cruickshank will be conducting a Town Hall Celebration on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 5:30 p.m., at the future home of DHS (Grace Lutheran) to acquaint potential students, their families and the community to learn more about DHS, the curriculum and more. They will be taking registration applications there, too.
For additional information on registering, donating, or volunteering, please call (850) 424-1664, email firstname.lastname@example.org
, or visit www.destinhighschool.org