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GHS 9th-graders get new principal

POSTED: May 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Gainesville High School’s Freshman Academy has a new principal.

The Gainesville City Board of Education has voted to hire Pam Wood to direct the program, which helps orient students to high school life and academics.

Wood, who turned 49 Tuesday, currently serves as assistant principal at Riverview Middle School in Dawson County. She replaces Ken Martin, who takes over in the fall as campuswide principal at Gainesville Middle School. Martin also will oversee that school’s Sixth Grade Academy.

Wood, an educator for 16 years, began her career as a special education teacher at South Forsyth Middle School. She later taught language arts and social studies at North Forsyth Middle School.

After receiving her specialist degree in leadership from North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, she began working as an assistant principal in Dawson.

"I was also fortunate enough to be placed with a principal who allowed me the opportunity to learn everything I possibly could in order to move to the next step, that of being a principal," said Wood, who is married and has a grown son and a 17-year-old daughter.

She said she was drawn to the Freshman Academy because of the need for a "transition to the high school environment through small learning communities."

"Having a connection to an adult is key to the transition process and the small groups will accomplish that," she added. "... I am hopeful that my knowledge and skills will only be a benefit to an already excellent program."

Mike Kemp, campus principal at Gainesville High School, said Wood "is aware of the success of our existing program and has a great opportunity to take our academy to a new level."

"She has great experience and expertise working with middle school children and understands the critical transitional issues they face academically and socially as they move into high school," he added.

"The ninth grade experience is critical as it is the foundation for high school success."


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