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Elachee Nature Science Center names next president and CEO
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Sarah Bell will succeed Andrea Timpone in May 2021 as Elachee Nature Science Center's president and CEO. Photo courtesy Elachee Nature Science Center

Elachee Nature Science Center has named a new leader to carry out its environmental education and conservation efforts in Chicopee Woods and throughout Northeast Georgia.

On May 1, 2021, Sarah Bell will officially succeed Andrea Timpone as the nonprofit’s president and CEO, according to a press release from the organization.

“I am honored to have been selected to lead this great organization,” Bell said in a statement. “This community has afforded me so many opportunities and I’m excited to use the skills I have learned while also returning to my first love — science education.”

Bell has a background in education, having worked in Gainesville City Schools for 29 years, including her recent role as deputy superintendent.

Timpone, who led Elachee for 35 years, told The Times in November that she had been planning for her retirement with the nonprofit’s board of trustees since fall 2019. The search for a replacement involved a search committee of 10 individuals chosen from current and former Elachee trustees and staff. 

“After conducting interviews with the most qualified of the dozens of applicants from around the country, the committee was extremely confident in recommending two highly qualified individuals to the Elachee board for their selection of the organization’s next President and CEO,” said Mike Whitmire, the search committee’s chair.

Emily Bagwell, the nonprofit’s board of trustees chair, added that Bell’s work in the  K-12 educational system, knowledge of the community and love of nature make her “highly qualified to lead Elachee.”

Bell is a longtime Gainesville resident and graduated from Gainesville High School. She earned post-secondary degrees from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College and the University of North Georgia. She is also actively involved with United Way of Hall County and serves on the Gainesville/Hall County Alliance for Literacy Board of Directors.

“I am looking forward to continuing and building upon the tremendous legacy that this organization has embraced for over four decades,” Bell stated. “ ... I am excited about learning and know that I will be in good hands because of the wonderful people associated with Elachee.”