Meet Our Teachers
6th Grade - Sheila Murray
Returning for her fifth year at Gulf Pointe Latin School, Mrs. Murray has an extensive history of successful teaching with a specialty in mathematics. She graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Mrs. Murray is formally trained in working with gifted and talented children and has taught many Honors courses in mathematics. She has served as Department Chairperson, Curriculum Development & Alignment Specialist. Mrs. Murray has two sons ages 17 and 15.  Both attend Fort Walton Beach High School. Last Spring, Mrs. Murray's class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Returning for her fifth year at Gulf Pointe Latin School, Mrs. Murray has an extensive history of successful teaching with a specialty in mathematics. She graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Mrs. Murray is formally trained in working with gifted and talented children and has taught many Honors courses in mathematics. She has served as Department Chairperson, Curriculum Development & Alignment Specialist. Mrs. Murray has two sons ages 17 and 15.  Both attend Fort Walton Beach High School. Last Spring, Mrs. Murray's class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

5th Grade - Claire Haas

We are excited to welcome Mrs. Haas back for her second year as the 5th grade teacher at Gulf Pointe Latin School. Mrs. Haas received her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Communications and Philosophy. She also holds a Master's degree in Education-Curriculum and Instruction from Belmont University. Mrs. Haas has been in the education field for 20 years as a teacher, mentor, manager and coach. Mrs. Haas has taught in private and parochial schools in Tennessee and Maryland, as well as worked in charter and public schools. Mrs. Haas lives in Gulf Breeze with her husband and two teenage children. Last Spring, Mrs. Haas’s class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Returning for her fifth year at Gulf Pointe Latin School, Mrs. Murray has an extensive history of successful teaching with a specialty in mathematics. She graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Mrs. Murray is formally trained in working with gifted and talented children and has taught many Honors courses in mathematics. She has served as Department Chairperson, Curriculum Development & Alignment Specialist. Mrs. Murray has two sons ages 17 and 15.  Both attend Fort Walton Beach High School. Last Spring, Mrs. Murray's class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

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are very excited to have Mrs. Claire Haas join the Gulf Pointe Academy teaching staff and take the reins of our inaugural 5th grade class. Mrs. Haas received her Bachelors of Science degree in Broadcast Communications and Philosophy. She also holds a Master's degree in Education-Curriculum and Instruction from Belmont University. Mrs. Haas has been in the education field for 19 years as a teacher, mentor, manager and coach. Mrs. Haas has taught in private and parochial schools in Tennessee and Maryland, as well as worked in charter and public schools. Mrs. Haas recently relocated from Baltimore and now lives in Gulf Breeze with her husband and two 
4th Grade - Susie Howell
We are pleased to welcome Mrs. Howell back to GPLS for her third year teaching 4th grade. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado, Mrs. Howell served as a Director of Wellness in the health care industry. Before coming to Gulf Pointe, she was a patient care coordinator at Andrews Institute. In addition to co-founding Live Oak Church with her husband, Pat, Mrs. Howell has spent over 20 years in children's ministry and has extensive experience developing and teaching Sunday school, discipleship courses, and Bible study groups. Mrs. Howell and her husband have one son serving as an officer in the Air Force, a second son at Mississippi State University, and a 12 year old daughter. Last spring Mrs. Howell's class finished the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in the top 1% of the country.
4th Grade - Toni Hall
Returning for her second year to GPLS, we are pleased to present Mrs. Hall as our new 4th grade teacher. Mrs. Hall received her Bachelor of Science degree from Valdosta State College and taught 1st grade for several years in a private school. Mrs. Hall also taught 5th and 6th grade students in Classical Conversations. Most recently, during her first year at GPLS, Mrs. Hall was the 3rd grade assistant teacher.  Mrs. Hall is married and has two children.
3rd Grade - Stephanie Bowman (Master Teacher, Training Specialist)
Returning for her fifth year, Mrs. Bowman will lead our third grade class and continue as our Master Teacher in charge of training a new teacher for next school year. After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in biology, Mrs. Bowman began her career in the field of Cytology at Wilford Hall Medical Center. Mrs. Bowman has been married for 15 years to her husband who recently retired from active duty service in the Air Force at Hurlburt Field. She and her husband have three children who are 13, 10, and 9 years old. Mrs. Bowman has two children who attend GPLS. Last Spring, Mrs. Bowman's class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
3rd Grade - Daniela Vaughn
We are pleased to welcome back Daniela Vaughn to the GPLS teaching staff for her second year. Ms. Vaughn is originally from Ecuador and moved to the United States where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Business and Hospitality Management from Northern Arizona University.  She also holds an Associate Degree in Exercise Science from International Sports Science Association. Ms. Vaughn has two children who both attend school at GPLS. Ms. Vaughn will be training for a full year under the leadership of Mrs. Bowman, and preparing for a lead teaching position next school year.
2nd Grade - Michelle Collins
We are pleased to welcome back Mrs. Collins for her fifth year as a GPLS second grade teacher. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Master’s degree in Administration, she spent ten years in finance, banking and corporate trust administration. Mrs. Collins returned to school and earned her second Master’s degree in Education. She has a passion for children’s classical literature and fondly reminisces about her own high school days when she studied Latin. Mrs. Collins has been married to her husband for 30 years and they have two children. Her husband is an attorney and has served in the US Army Reserves for 34 years. Last Spring, Mrs. Collins’s GPLS class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
2nd Grade - Sara Rice
We are pleased to welcome back Ms. Rice for her sixth year as a lead teacher. Ms. Rice has a very strong track record in private elementary education, consistently producing students who are better prepared and more successful than their counterparts. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education, during which time she also studied European civilization and French in Limoges, France. Ms. Rice has taught for 18 years in many capacities, including teaching Thai children at the International Community School in Bangkok, inner-city public schools, and private Christian classrooms. Last Spring, Ms, Rice's class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
1st Grade - Julie Kneen
Returning for her fourth year, we are pleased to welcome back Mrs. Kneen as a first grade teacher. Mrs. Kneen began her undergraduate work at Cal State Fullerton, where she met her future air force husband and lived several years abroad in Germany. Mrs. Kneen continued her education at Azusa Pacific and Wayland Baptist University. Prior to joining GPLS, she taught internationally through the Department of Defense and then taught 1st - 6th grades for ten years at an area private school. Mrs. Kneen has also served as a Religious Education Teacher for the past 11 years. She and her husband have been married 22 years and have four children. Last Spring, Mrs. Kneen's class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
1st Grade - Leah Hooks
We are pleased to announce Ms. Hooks is returning to the GPLS teaching staff for her second year as a first grade teacher. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree in Education and then completing her teaching practicum, Ms. Hooks headed west to teach young 3-5 year old children horseback riding at a premiere Colorado dude ranch. After spending two seasons at the ranch, Ms. Hooks began her classroom teaching as a substitute in Birmingham. After deciding she was ready to become a lead teacher, Ms. Hooks found the Gulf Pointe teaching opportunity a great fit for fulfilling her desire to educate children in a classical, traditional environment. Ms. Hooks has one brother, and loves being an aunt to her eight month old nephew. Last Spring, Ms. Hook’s class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
1st Grade - Mandy McDiarmid
We are very excited to welcome back Mrs. McDiarmid, who was Gulf Pointe’s very first teacher in our inaugural 2011 year. Mrs. McDiarmid and her husband Derek have since had two sons, both of whom attend GPLS. After graduating from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Mrs. McDiarmid went on to complete the Graduate Entrepreneurial Certificate Program at UWF.
Kindergarten - Heather Bergman
We are pleased to welcome back Mrs. Bergman for her fourth year as a GPLS teacher. Mrs. Bergman graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. She was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence and nominated for the National Dean’s List. Mrs. Bergman has international teaching experience in Baumholder, Germany and has also taught elementary school in Minnesota. Mrs. Bergman is married and has two children who attend GPLS. Her husband is a systems engineer at Hurlburt and a communications officer in the Air National Guard. Last Spring, Mrs. Bergman's class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
Kindergarten - Terah DeFore
We are excited to welcome back Mrs. DeFore for her second year at GPLS as a kindergarten teacher. Mrs. DeFore received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia and managed a successful career with the same commercial design firm for 14 years. She is our in-house art expert and will lead both of the GPLS Art Clubs. Mrs. DeFore and her husband have been married for 15 years and have two children who attend GPLS. Her husband served for 10 years in the US Navy, and is currently a simulator instructor at Eglin AFB. Last Spring, Mrs. DeFore’s class finished in the top 1% of the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
Pre-kindergarten Teacher - Laurie Matthews (Assistant Director Preschool)
We are thrilled to welcome back Mrs. Matthews for her fifth year as our lead pre-kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Matthews is a specialist in early childhood education and brings many years of experience in teaching at a private preschool. Prior to joining GPLS, she spent 10 years as a lead teacher at Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool in Gulf Breeze. Mrs. Matthews has been married for 22 years. She and her husband have made Navarre their home and are raising their children here. They have a junior in college, a son in 12th grade, and a daughter in 6th grade at GPLS.
Pre-kindergarten Teacher - Stephanie Howell

We are excited to announce that Mrs. Howell has joined the GPLS staff as a lead pre-kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Howell has over ten years of experience teaching preschool children. She was a music teacher for three years and then served as lead preschool teacher for seven years at First United Methodist Preschool in Fort Walton Beach. Mrs. Howell lives with her husband of 18 years and their three children in Fort Walton Beach.

Preschool Teacher - Rose Cloud

We are pleased to welcome back Mrs. Cloud for her fourth year teaching preschool at GPLS. Mrs. Cloud is an active member of our community and has served in many roles as substitute teacher, church volunteer, and women’s outreach coordinator. She has been married 14 years to her husband Jason, who is an IT engineer based at Hurlburt Field. They are the parents of two children who attend GPLS.

Preschool Lead - Becky Aldrich
We are excited to announce that Mrs. Aldrich has joined the Gulf Pointe Latin School teaching staff as a lead preschool teacher. Mrs. Aldrich has over 20 years experience teaching preschool aged children. Most recently, Mrs. Aldrich served for 11 years as a lead preschool teacher at Navarre United Methodist Preschool. She and her husband of 30 years live in Navarre and are parents to five grown children.
Piano Teacher - Tianna Rogers
We are delighted to welcome back Ms. Rogers for her second year as our full-time piano and group theory music instructor. Ms. Rogers teaches private piano instruction, group piano lessons, and develops new music performance programs at GPLS. She is an accomplished musician with a Masters of Music Degree in Piano Performance from University of Southern Mississippi. Ms. Rogers completed her undergraduate work at Belhaven University; earning two degrees - a Bachelor of Arts in Music in Collaborative Piano with a Piano Pedagogy Emphasis and a Bachelor of Arts in History. Ms. Rogers is the oldest of five children and her family lives in the Dallas, TX area.
Choir Director & Piano Teacher - Gran Jer
Returning for her fifth year as GPLS Choir Director, Mrs. Gran Jer is an accomplished pianist and dance instructor who brings a wealth of classical chorus knowledge and experience to the school. Mrs. Gran Jer graduated with honors from DePauw University, where she developed a passion for classical education and history while studying abroad. She then launched her very successful career as Republican Staff Director at the Indiana State House. Mrs. Gran Jer is married to Big Geo, lives part-time in Italy, and enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren.
Piano & Strings Ensemble Teacher - Yoana Hilt
We are pleased to welcome back Mrs. Hilt for her 5th year at GPLS. Mrs. Hilt has a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music. She is a classically trained musician who plays in many area orchestras. Mrs. Hilt has been teaching private lessons for 9 years in Piano, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Violin, Viola, Harp, and Voice. Mrs. Hilt teaches private music instruction and also leads multiple GPLS Ensembles. Mrs. Hilt and her husband welcomed their first baby last year.
GPA Board Members:

President & Director of Operations - Dianne J. Hamer (Mayer)
Vice President - Robert S. Hamer
Treasurer - O. Andrew Covington
Secretary - Sheila S. Murray