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Dr. Michael Samala


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Alternative Education


Welcome to the Department of Alternative Education, a part of the Curriculum and Instruction Division of the Escambia County School District. Our primary responsibilities include alternative placement programs, charter schools, TeenAge Parent Program (TAPP),  and educational components in Juvenile Justice facilities. These areas include many traditional and off-campus programs which provide alternative academic strategies for students who are a part of the School District of Escambia County.

The department is here to assist teachers in bringing new successes to students and all persons working with students considered to be
"at-risk" of leaving school prior to graduation. The Department site is provided as a resource to identify and define facets of work in Alternative Education, to orient the public to the mission and scope of the department, and to provide useful information related to the responsibilities that are under the Alternative Education umbrella.

Alternative Education programs provide opportunities for at risk students to maximize their potential for success in life. Programs focus upon the needs and interests of students by offering positive school experiences which are designed for improved achievement, enhancement of positive self-concept, motivation, reduction of truancy, reduction of disruptive behavior, and reduction of teenage pregnancy.

Charter schools are public schools that operate under a performance contract, or a “charter” which frees them from many regulations created for traditional public schools while holding them accountable for academic and financial results. The charter contract between the charter school governing board and the sponsor (district school board) details the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment and ways to measure success. The length of time for which charters are granted varies but most are granted for five years.

The Florida Legislature, in authorizing the creation of public charter schools, established the following guiding principles: high standards of student achievement while increasing parental choice; the alignment of responsibility with accountability; and ensuring parents receive information on reading levels and learning gains of their children. Charter schools are intended to improve student learning; increase learning opportunities with special emphasis on low performing students and reading; and measure learning outcomes. Charter schools may create innovative measurement tools; provide competition to stimulate improvement in traditional schools; expand capacity of the public school system; and mitigate the educational impact created by the development of new residential units.

Our Department Information page includes the names and responsibilities of each member of our staff.  Please feel free to call upon us at any time.


Vickie Mathis
Director of Alternative Education  





Vickie Mathis, Director

Department of Alternative Education

J. E. Hall Center

30 East Texar Drive

Pensacola, Florida 32503

Phone:  850.430.7439

Fax:  850.430.7440

Email:  vmathis@escambia.k12.fl.us


Dr. Michael Samala,  DJJ Transition Coordinator

  • DJJ Transition
  • Bully Prevention
  • Florida Youth Survey

Phone:  850.430.7446

Email: msamala@escambia.k12.fl.us

Kerri Coots, Teacher on Special Assignment

  • Camelot Academy
  • DJJ Sites
  • DAART/Lakeview
  • SESIR/Discipline

Phone:  850.430.7438

Email:  kcoots@escambia.k12.fl.us

Susan Rigby, Teacher on Special Assignment

  • Teen Parent Program
  • Charter Schools

Phone:  850.430.7444

Email:  srigby@escambia.k12.fl.us



Veronica Blakes, Admin Secretary III

 Phone:  (850) 430-7437

Email:  vblakes@escambia.k12.fl.us 

Belinda Gundelfinger, Data Specialist II

Phone:  (850) 430-7441

Email:  bgundelfinger@escambia.k12.fl.us 

Vacant, Data Specialist II

Phone:  850.430.7442