Dear Sandpiper Family,

It has been an honor to serve as the Principal of Dune Lakes Elementary and Bay Elementary School.  As most of you are aware, my father’s health has declined and the time has come for me to devote more time to my family.  Though May 29, 2020 is the official retirement date, I made this decision in early October after seeing the changes in my father’s health and realizing the need for my attention.

Though I am sad to step away from our beautiful school, its amazing families and our precious students and staff, I am so proud of the accomplishments we have achieved together.  From establishing a strong parent support organization, bringing violin studies to music, and building a STEM curriculum that prepares students for advanced programs in middle and high schools, I am confident that I am leaving the school strong for what the future holds.

It has been my privilege to work with such an engaged group of parents and their eager kiddos.  Education has been a passion of mine for nearly two decades and it so special that this group of students will be my last. 

I am so grateful for the support or our staff and teachers throughout my time as principal.  You’re only as good as your team, and this school is lucky to have some of the best, most dedicated teachers and staff.  They are patient, resourceful, flexible and focused –  like the qualities and character of a sandpiper.  This school year, our school grew from 550 to a whopping 787 and our team welcomed new families and their students with open arms.   

Wow, what a final year and time to enter retirement!  Thinking back to this time last year, we were preparing to move from Bay Elementary campus and move to our new school.  Now, in this pandemic and as we plan for 2020/21, teachers and students are not in their classrooms and again we are packing belongings for a future time when staff and students can reunite under the same roof.

I am confident in Supt. Hughes’ recommendation for Carrie Chavers to serve as the new Principal for DLE.  I have known Mrs. Chavers since  2004 while serving on the Junior League of the Emerald Coast Board with her, collaborated as a colleague in Walton County School District since 2015 and know she will lead this school to continued success.   We are planning for 2020/21 together and transitioning for her to take the wheel.

Walton County has been my home since the 1980’s, and I am happy to say that I will remain here in support of education just not in the education setting.

It has truly been a pleasure to work with your kiddos over the last six years.

Not goodbye, but farewell for now!

Meredith Spence, Principal