Destin Elementary School welcomed its newest principal Tuesday following the retirement of former principal Al Gardner.

Joe Jannazo, an alumni of Choctawhatchee High School, said he's honored to continue on Gardner's legacy at Destin Elementary.

"I'm inheriting a very strong school with a very strong staff," Jannazo said. "I'm not coming in here to shake things up. What I would like to do is continue the great traditions of Destin Elementary."

Prior to becoming principal at Destin Elementary School, Jannazo served four years as assistant principal of Choctawhatchee High School. Before that, he worked five years at Pryor Middle School teaching everything from U.S. history and aviation to robotics.

"I went to Florida State University and majored in international affairs with a concentration in political science," Jannazo said. "That has nothing to do with education, but I just fell into a job teaching at Pryor. I moved into taking some leadership classes at the University of West Florida and then I became the assistant principal at Choctaw.

"When Mr. Gardner retired the opportunity to move into a principal role became available," he continued. "I've been preparing for this since day one of becoming a teacher."

Jannazo said although students are out for the summer, he's keeping busy his first week with teacher meetings and getting organized for the next school year. Jannazo said what he wants students to know about his role as principal is that his focus is all about them.

"I take care of my staff and help grow my staff so we can take care of our students," Janazzo said. "The bottom line is that it's all about the students and student growth. I'm very happy to give back to my community and serve this community as principal."