Hall County Schools on Friday, May 26, named the inaugural principal at Sandra Dunagan Deal Elementary, the first of four new elementary schools planned in the district.
Keri Smith, the principal at Riverbend Elementary since April of last year, will take the helm when the new elementary school opens in the fall of 2024.
The school is named after Sandra Deal, former Georgia first lady and Hall County school teacher who died at age 80 in August last year after a battle with breast cancer that metastasized to her brain.
Smith has taught for Hall County Schools for two decades, serving as a teacher, instructional coach and administrator.
“We are pleased to have Keri Smith help open up our new elementary school and lead the Sandra Dunagan Deal team,” Superintendent Will Schofield said in a news release. “She has such a wide range of leadership and early literacy experience, as well as an incredible love for students and their learning.”
Both Riverbend Elementary and White Sulphur Elementary will consolidate to form Sandra Dunagan Deal Elementary, which broke ground last November.
Located at the intersection of Ramsey Road and White Sulphur Road, it will be the first of four new elementary schools as the district modernizes some of its aging infrastructure.
The average age of elementary schools in Hall County is more than 40 years old.
At a cost of $41.8 million, the 133,000-square-foot school will have enough room for 1,025 students.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as the new principal of Sandra Dunagan Deal Elementary,” Smith said. “I look forward to working closely with all stakeholders at Riverbend Elementary and White Sulphur Elementary in the 2023-2024 school year to prepare to unite these two longstanding community schools. Together, I am confident that we will make Sandra Dunagan Deal Elementary a wonderful place to serve the students and their families.”