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Gainesville Athletic Director Billy Kirk stepping down
Billy Kirk is introduced as the new athlectic director for Gainesville City Schools on May 4, 2015.

Gainesville High School will soon be on the hunt for a new athletic and activities director.

Billy Kirk, the Red Elephants’ AD since May 2015, announced Tuesday he will be stepping down from the position at the end of the year to become the new principal of Lumpkin County High School via an announcement by Gainesville City Schools.

Kirk, who previously served as the Centennial High Athletic Director in Roswell and coached Jackson County High’s football program prior to that, took over for Wayne Vickery. Vickery won five baseball state titles as the Red Elephants' coach before taking over as athletic director, during career spanning more than three decades at Gainesville.

Kirk said he had originally agreed to return to Gainesville High for the 2017-18 school year when the opportunity to join Lumpkin County High's staff presented itself. 

Kirk thanked Wanda Creel, superintendent for Gainesville City Schools, for providing the opportunity to advance his career in the city of Gainesville. He also thanked the Board of Education for trusting him to do the job and expressed gratitude for the community.

"I've met a lot of wonderful people in Gainesville, (who) have really accepted myself and my son, who is a student here at the high school, into the family. And we appreciate that," said Kirk. "There's nothing I look at as a negative with my time here at Gainesville. It has been an enjoyable experience. I've grown as an educator, I've grown as a person, and we'll be better because of my time here.

"But when you have an opportunity to advance your career in a wonderful town, you can't pass that up," added Kirk, who will be moving with his wife and four sons to Dahlonega in the coming months. "I'm grateful, and I wish our coaches, our students and our faculty the best, and we'll be following them from 21 miles or so up the road in Lumpkin County."