Peachtree Elementary principal announces retirement

Beverly Smith

Beverly Smith

After a little more than four years as principal of Peachtree Elementary, Beverly Smith has announced her retirement.

Smith, who has worked in Gwinnett County Public Schools since 1974, has been the principal at Peachtree since July, 2009. In a letter to parents on Friday, Smith said the retirement decision, which is effective Dec. 1, came with an “incredible mix of emotions.”

“As I contemplate this huge life change, I find myself in a very reflective state,” she wrote.

Smith is the sixth GCPS principal to leave their current position since the school year began. Along with Peachtree, district officials are looking for new principals at Berkmar High, Beaver Ridge Elementary and Bethesda Elementary.

It was announced last month that Jose DeJesus, principal of Beaver Ridge, would become the new principal at Berkmar Middle, while Deborah Harris, who is Bethesda’s principal, would transfer to Grace Snell Middle.

District spokeswoman Sloan Roach said GCPS hires people year round, and making the transition during the school year is often better because the school year is already in motion rather than a summer hire when students and teachers aren’t around.

“We’ve had a lot of principals to do this over the years,” Roach said. “It’s a better transition.”

In her letter, Smith said the district’s goal is to make an appointment for her replacement at the Oct. 17 Gwinnett County Board of Education meeting. Smith said she would work with her replacement throughout November to ensure a smooth transition.

Smith began her career at Peachtree, and has since been a teacher at G.H. Hopkins Elementary, and an assistant principal, data administrator and principal at Cedar Hill Elementary.

“Right now I have no plans for myself other than to take a breath and slow down for a while,” Smith wrote. “I look forward to seeing what the future will be for me and wish all of you the very best in your journeys as well.”