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Destin High School board selects Christine Cruickshank as principal

Special to Gannett

Christine Cruickshank, a 35-year educator, has been hired as the principal of the upcoming tuition-free public charter Destin High School (DHS).

“Christine Cruickshank is highly-credentialed and possesses all the qualities of a strong principal," Priebble Ramswell, president of the governing board for DHS, said in a news release.

"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," Ramswell said.

Christine Cruickshank is the principal of Destin High School.

The school plans to open for the 2021-22 school year on the renovated Grace Lutheran property in Destin.

Cruickshank, who has lived in Northwest Florida since 2007 and has been a resident of Niceville for several years, was selected from a pool of almost 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 and has earned numerous degrees, including an Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction/Instructional Technology, 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, South Florida and Northwest Florida. She started teaching her senior year of college while attending Millersville University in Pennsylvania.

More:April 2020 - Destin High School pushes opening back one year to 2021

Over the years, Cruickshank has extensively interacted with her students in many ways. For example, she has coached track and 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.

She also has had extensive experience as a school leader in the AdvancED/SACS Accreditation process for schools from day care to high school.

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Cruickshank also has experience with the Senior Capstone Project. That is a process in which students at the end of their junior year undertake a major project of career research and decision-making in a subject specific to their 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 during the summer in the field they have selected for their Capstone Project. 

“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," Cruickshank said. "After all, it is their school. In many ways, I see education and teaching as customer service." 

More:Destin High School moves forward with new location for 2021-22 year

"But one of the most important things on the docket just now is having students fill out their applications online 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," Cruickshank said.

For more information, call the admissions /application line at 850-225-7620, or email  principal@destinhighschool.org.

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 2021-22 school year.

In addition to offering advanced and state-mandated core curriculum, DHS will use a place-based approach to learning that will take advantage of the local geography, industry and community. That will allow the school to offer additional curriculum opportunities through authentic, meaningful and engaging personalized learning for their students.

The DHS Governing Board and Cruickshank will host a town hall celebration at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the future home of DHS (Grace Lutheran) to acquaint potential students, their families and the community with DHS, the curriculum and more. They also will take registration applications there.

For additional information on registering, donating or volunteering, call 850-424-1664, email info@destinhighschool.org or visit www.destinhighschool.org.