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Class Notes: Barrow County assistant superintendent joining Gainesville schools as CFO
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Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Wanda Creel will be working with Chris Griner again.

Griner, Barrow County Schools’ assistant superintendent for business services, will assume the position of Gainesville chief financial officer in July. He previously worked with Creel when she served as Barrow superintendent.

The Gainesville position opened after current CFO Janet Allison announced her upcoming retirement.

According to Barrow County News, Griner is looking forward to working with Creel again. He spent spring break in Gainesville, familiarizing himself with the city schools’ budget.

He told the Barrow County News the transition to Gainesville shouldn’t be too difficult with Creel leading the system.

Both systems use the same accounting software, and the biggest adjustment will likely be moving from a county system to a city system, he said.

Before he was hired at Barrow County Schools in 2011, Griner worked at BrandBank in Lawrenceville. He’s also worked in Northeast Georgia as CFO of Braselton’s now defunct Hometown Country Bank.


Ayres named dean of UNG College of Education

Longtime University of North Georgia faculty member Susan Brandenburg-Ayres was recently named the new dean of the College of Education.

She has served as interim dean of the college since July 2014 and was previously associate dean.

She helped the college advance in multiple ways, including developing the undergraduate program with dual certification in early childhood and special education, the first program of its kind in the state. She helped develop the “professional development communities” model, which allows student-teachers to take their college courses at a public school. This creates an integrated learning experience and allows future teachers to practice pre-planning and parent-teacher conferences.

She also plans for the college to increase its international partnerships.

Ayres earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Florida and a doctoral degree from the University of Northern Colorado.


Brenau unveils women’s college sculptures

Hundreds of Brenau University alumni attended a reunion April 11, as two sculptures were unveiled, depicting the “coming and going” of a women’s college.

According to a release from the university, the first sculpture depictures an obviously timid young woman’s arrival on campus. The second shows the departure of a more confident woman. Both bronze sculptures are permanently installed overlooking the front lawn of the Gainesville campus.

Sculptor Jean Westmacott, former director of Brenau University Galleries, created the statues on commission from former Brenau President John Burd. Westmacott spent 16 years in the position and working as an art professor for the university.

She used real young women from diverse ethnic backgrounds as models for the statues. They are joined on the front lawn by a bronze figure of a refined woman in ankle-length Victorian attire, representing women of the past. Another bronze figure of a woman in jeans represents the Brenau women of today.

The new statues represent “what Brenau gives to a young woman.”

“In my 10 years at Brenau, I have seen many times the scenario that these works of art represent,” said Brenau President Ed Schrader in a news release. “Young women do grow and prosper here and they leave us well-prepared to make a significant impact on the world. We are making every effort we can to apply the ideal that has kept the Women’s College thriving across the entire university.”

Burd, who spoke at the dedication, said the statues “are ideal for the representation of the Women’s College.”


Kristen Oliver covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: