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2 longtime principals in Gainesville City Schools announce retirement
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Bertha Shields - photo by Hall County Schools

Two longtime principals in the Gainesville City School System announced their retirement Monday. 

Bertha Shields, principal at New Holland Knowledge Academy, and Gwenell Brown, principal at Fair Street International Academy, are stepping down. 

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Gwenell Brown - photo by Hall County Schools

“These two leaders have given their whole heart to this school system for many years and have made a lasting impact,” said Superintendent Jeremy Williams. “With a combined tenure of 77 years, it’s safe to say they are true Red Elephants that will leave a strong legacy.”

Shields graduated Gainesville High School in 1979, and she began her career in the school system in 1984 as a paraprofessional. She later served as a gifted teacher, an English as a Second Language teacher and as an assistant principal before her current role as principal for New Holland Knowledge Academy.“Teaching will always be one of my passions,” Shields said. “Although it will be in a different capacity, I will continue to instill a love for learning in the lives of others.” 

Brown has been in the education field for four decades, spending 28 of those years with Gainesville City School System. She has been a part of the school system since she was a child, attending Fair Street International Academy in the 1960s. “I feel like I have come full circle because I started school at Fair Street in 1964 and graduated from Gainesville High in 1976,” Brown said. “I am ending my career where I started. I will continue to work in my community and be active in education by volunteering and being a mentor to help students be successful in getting their education.”

Brown and Shields will continue to serve as principals until May 2022 while the district searches for replacements.