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Changes in store for school heads

CONYERS -- Several administrative changes are taking place over the summer following J.H. House Elementary School Principal Carolyn Poole's February announcement that she would retire at the end of the 2009-10 school year.

After working in Rockdale County Public Schools since 1974, when she started as a teacher at Honey Creek Elementary School, and working at J.H. House since 1987 as a lead teacher and then principal in 2006, Poole decided the time was right for her to retire.

As a result, several administrative changes will take place to fill open positions. In May, the Rockdale County Board of Education approved Pine Street Elementary School Principal Tammy Smith to transfer to J.H. House as Poole's replacement. C.J. Hicks Elementary Assistant Principal Kim Vier will take over as principal at Pine Street.

Smith said she is honored to be the new principal of J.H. House.

"I am looking forward to meeting everyone and certainly getting to know all of the wonderful staff, students and parents," she said. "We will work through (the school's) site-based strategic plan to continue to improve upon its solid foundation. I know we will all work very closely to ensure that every student has the ability to reach their highest aspirations."

Smith has lived in Rockdale County for the past seven years, when she became the assistant principal of Hightower Trail Elementary School after years of teaching.

"I love being an educator because you get to make a difference every day," she said. "I have always wanted to become a teacher, and I love children. It is important to instill the love of learning at an early age."

Smith said she will miss the family atmosphere at Pine Street but knows Vier will do a great job taking over.

"She has been a great assistant principal, and she will utilize her knowledge and skills to be a great leader at Pine Street," Smith said.

Vier, who lived in Rockdale since she was 3 years old and now resides in Newton County with her husband, said she is honored and humbled to be the next principal of Pine Street, although she will miss working with the staff, students and parents at C.J. Hicks.

"As does all of the schools in our district, Pine Street places a high priority on providing our students with the best educational experience, and that goal will continue as we move forward," she said. "As a former student of Pine Street, I look forward to serving in the school that gave me a wonderful educational foundation and the desire to make teaching and learning my central focus."

Her desire to become a teacher started in fifth grade at Pine Street.

"I enjoy the daily interaction with my students and staff. Seeing my students achieve their goals is definitely a high point for me," said Vier, who began teaching 15 years ago at Pine Street.

After four years of teaching fifth grade at Pine Street, she transferred to Honey Creek for two years and then taught at Peek's Chapel for four years. After the birth of her first child, she worked at Livingston Elementary in Newton County to be closer to her home and church, but then she returned to Rockdale at C.J. Hicks to be an academic coach and then worked as an assistant principal since 2007.

Vier has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Shorter College in Rome, a master's degree in early childhood education from Brenau University and an educational leadership certificate from the University of Georgia. She was Rockdale County's Teacher of the Year in 2002.

In June, two academic coaches in the central office also announced their resignations.

Daniel Petritz, academic science coach, and Jenna Mauriello, numeracy coach, asked to be released from their contracts to accept positions with the Department of Defense in Germany. Petritz will serve as the Dependents Schools of Instruction's systems specialist for middle and high school science in the Kaiserslautern District's superintendent's office; Mauriello will work in the Education Activity department in Kaiserslautern.