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Class Notes: Schools welcome new leadership
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The new year will start the age of new leadership at some area schools, as well as at the system office.

Lakeview Academy announced the appointment of Beth McElwee as the new upper school director. It will become fully effective in May 2013.

“Our upper school is gaining a compassionate leader who has the classroom experience and administrative history to lead our teachers and provide our students with an exceptional high school experience,” said John Kennedy, head of school at Lakeview and interim director of the upper school. “Her shoes in the classroom will be hard to fill.”

Don Caskey, the former upper school director, retired over the summer after a number of years in the position.

McElwee has been teaching for more than 20 years, earning a Teacher of the Year award in 1992.

“This is the right opportunity at the right time in my life to challenge myself with a new leadership position,” McElwee said. “I think I can lead teachers to be the best they can be on a daily basis.”

McElwee came to Lakeview in 2011 as the math chairwoman after spending 18 years at Gainesville High School, where she was a math teacher.

Hall County Schools also will have some changeover to start the new year.

Effective Dec. 1, two elementary school principals announced their retirement: Ann Murphey from White Sulphur Elementary School and Sabrina May from Chestnut Mountain Elementary School.

Richard Hill, the associate superintendent of personnel for the system, also announced his retirement.

Wade Pearce will take over as principal at Chestnut Mountain, but his contract will not begin until next June. Pearce is currently the principal of Eagle Ranch School.

Jackie Adams, former principal at West Hall High School, who has been in retirement, will take over as the interim principal until Pearce starts.

Betsy Ainsworth will be the new head of White Sulphur Elementary, moving from her assistant principal role at Sardis Enrichment School.

“I am thrilled to be joining the White Sulphur community,” said Ainsworth. “White Sulphur has a rich history of educating students in a nurturing environment, and I am honored to become a part of this long-standing tradition. I look forward to working with parents and teachers at White Sulphur as we continue to grow our students into future leaders.”

Hill’s replacement in the central office has not been announced. According to Gordon Higgins, spokesman for the system, applications are being accepted and interviews have begun.

Lee Johnson covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: