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Newton County educator will be North Hall High's new principal
Joe Gheesling.


Joe Gheesling, newly named principal of North Hall High School, talks about how he entered education.

North Hall High School has a new principal, Newton County High School principal Joe Gheesling.

The Hall County Board of Education voted Monday night to hire Gheesling, 56, who will begin June 1.

Gheesling will replace Gary Brown, who is retiring after this school year.

"It’s a great opportunity for me professionally. Plus, I’m very excited about the fact that ... the community up there reflects the same values that my wife and I have," said Gheesling, speaking by phone from Covington.

The school system still is looking for principals to replace Wayne Colston of Mount Vernon Elementary School, Terry Dover of Lula Elementary School and Aaron Turpin of Lyman Hall Elementary School.

Colston and Dover are retiring after this school year.

Turpin is leaving his post to become the district’s chief technology officer.

Gheesling is a latecomer to education.

The Lithonia native served in the U.S. Navy from 1974 to 1994, then as a human resources manager at a car dealership in Pensacola, Fla., for three years.

"I had a good career going, but ... there was something that just left a hollow feeling for me," Gheesling said.

He remembered his dad’s response when he told him at 16 he wanted a job that made a lot of money: "Remember son, making a difference in the lives of young people is more important than making money."

He stopped by Gulf Breeze High School in Pensacola on the way home from work one day and talked with administrators there about what he would need to do to become a teacher.

"By the time I got home, the principal called me up and offered me a position as a teacher and a coach," Gheesling said.

He taught English for the next three years at Gulf Breeze, then went on to teach English at Eastside High School in Covington for two years.

Gheesling then served for three years as assistant principal at Newton County High. He has been principal there since 2005.

Schofield said he believes that Gheesling "represents the type of leadership we encourage in Hall County.""He is driven by principle (and is) student-centered, articulate, visionary and process oriented," he said.

"I recently visited his current school and came away with a great peace that he is the appropriate individual to lead North Hall High School to even greater achievements."

Schofield said 54 people applied for the job in what "may have been the strongest line of candidates I’ve ever seen for a principal."

Gheesling and his wife, Victoria, have two children, 27-year-old Brett and 31-year-old Brandi, and two grandchildren.

A salary amount for Gheesling wasn’t immediately available.