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Gwinnett Schools name three new principals

Gene Taylor

Gene Taylor

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Laura Callahan

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Todd Hamilton

For the second time in less than a year, Gene Taylor is returning to Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Taylor was approved on Thursday by the Gwinnett School Board to be the new principal at Sweetwater Middle two years after he left Lilburn Middle as principal to lead North Atlanta High.

In September, the first time Taylor resigned from North Atlanta, he did it to accept a job at Berkmar High, only to return to Atlanta Public Schools in less than a week for an expected promotion, which was eventually nixed. Taylor resigned again in April, and at the time, district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said she was not aware of another offer for Taylor to return to Gwinnett.

Taylor left Lilburn Middle in October, 2012 to take the job as principal at North Atlanta High. He had been principal at Lilburn Middle since 2008, and previously was principal at Crews Middle from 2006 to 2008 and assistant principal for instruction at North Gwinnett High from 2003 to 2006.

North Atlanta High made national news, including an article in The New York Times, because it reportedly cost $147 million to build the school in an old IBM office building.

Taylor replaces Georgann Eaton, who is moving to the district’s department of accountability and assessment.

Taylor was one of three principals appointed at the meeting, along with Laura Callahan at Ivy Creek Elementary and Todd Hamilton at Lanier Middle.

Callahan will replace the only principal Ivy Creek Elementary has ever known in Yvonne Frey, who has served in that role since 2003 when the school opened. Frey is retiring.

Callahan has been an assistant principal at Freeman’s Mill Elementary since 2010, and previously was an assistant principal at Dacula Elementary from 2007-10. She began her GCPS employment at Shiloh Elementary as a paraprofessional in 1991, and later worked as a teacher at Shiloh Elementary and Dacula Elementary from 1993-2007.

At Lanier Middle, Hamilton will replace Jaime Espinosa, who was named principal in 2004. Espinosa is taking a position with the district’s office of student discipline and behavior interventions.

In a letter to parents last month, Espinosa noted the growth and re-districting in the Sugar Hill area in the last 10 years, and the establishment of the Lanier cluster.

“The past few years have been a unique time of transition for our area and the entire community has joined together to create the Longhorn symbol representing a cluster of schools whose motto is “Learn, Lead, and Succeed,” Espinosa wrote.

Hamilton was an assistant principal at Meadowcreek High this past school year, and was an assistant principal at Central Gwinnett High from 2009-13, and at Pinckneyville Middle from 2006-09. He was a math, life science and theater arts teacher at Pinckneyville from 1998-06. He also worked as a science teacher in Florida from 1989-1998.

The appointments mean 28 GCPS schools have welcomed a new principal since the start of the 2013-14 school year.