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Flowery Branch to get replacement for retiring Coleman

Schofield taps 2 to fill principal positions in Hall

POSTED: March 30, 2013 1:01 a.m.

Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield has announced his recommendations for the replacement of two school principals to the Board of Education.

Schofield has recommended Jason Carter, assistant principal of Johnson High School, to replace Mark Coleman as Flowery Branch High School principal. Coleman is retiring at the end of May.

Shane Rayburn, principal of Oakwood Elementary School, is Schofield’s choice to take over for Brad Brown, principal of North Hall Middle School.

Brown was recently named executive director of personnel at the district’s central office in Gainesville.

The board will make the final decision at its April 8 meeting.

“Both Jason and Shane represent what we say we’re about, and that’s character, competency and rigor,” Schofield said. “They’re men of impeccable character. They’re men that are bright and know what the school needs to look like. They’re both innovators who are willing to work with the teachers and their communities and discern what it is that we can do to better our students.”

Both Flowery Branch High and North Hall Middle formed committees of parents, teachers, district personnel and school governance leaders to find new principals. The committees interviewed more than 100 applicants, many of whom applied from outside of the district.

“I think that’s a really healthy thing when your own people are rising up and becoming the best candidates for the jobs,” Schofield said.

Rayburn has served as principal at Oakwood Elementary since 2010. He worked previously as assistant principal at Flowery Branch Elementary. He was named Hall County Teacher of Year in 2009 while a teacher at Lanier Elementary School.

Rayburn said he feels his experience in leadership roles will help him in the transition. He said he plans to take the school to the next level and work with teachers and stakeholders to build a collective vision for what the school will look like over the next decade.

He said he intends to empower faculty and staff to make sure their dreams for the school are heard.

“I’ve very excited about the possibilities and being able to help them be the best that they can be,” Rayburn said.

Rayburn said he is excited about helping the school grow in the coming years. He said he already “bleeds Trojan,” a reference to the school’s mascot, and looks forward to getting to know the community better.

“I’m very excited about the next wave of what happens there in Trojan history,” Rayburn said. “Clearly it’s a strong community and a great school. I’m looking forward to being there and facilitating the next chapter.”

Carter has worked in education for 16 years. He served as assistant principal at Johnson for the last four years. In that time, he played a major role in implementing the International Scholars Academy, a program of choice for ninth-graders. He also oversees the career tech programs at the school.

Carter said he feels that he’s learned a lot from his experiences at Johnson.

“Being a principal is something I have always wanted to have an opportunity to do,” Carter said. “I have been selective at the different positions I have applied for but it is something I have always wanted to have the opportunity to do.”

While he’s excited about the move, he admits leaving Johnson will be bittersweet. He said he’ll miss the relationships built with students and faculty.

To help ease the transition, Coleman has offered to assist Carter however he may need.

Coleman, who has kept his retirement fairly quite until recently, will retire May 31. He has worked in education for 36 years and has been principal of the high school since it opened in 2002.

“I plan to be very supportive of the school and stay in touch and offer any help that Jason may need,” Coleman said. “I want to avail myself to him. This is my community. I’ve spent the last 20 years here and this is my home. I want to continue to see Flowery Branch continue to excel.”

He said his decision to retire came after his close friend and former student, Gainesville High School principal Chris Mance, died last year after a brief battle with cancer.

Three days before Mance died, Coleman said he visited his friend in the hospital. Coleman said he began to consider retirement after he and Mance talked about their hopes and dreams. Mance suggested Coleman retire and start living out his dreams because life is short.

The day after his retirement, Coleman said he plans to celebrate with a monthlong hike through a portion of the Appalachian Trail.


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