Kemp named Principal at NHS; Other Personnel Changes announced

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From Coweta County Schools Press Release

In a called meeting on May 16, Dr. Gamal Kemp, currently the principal of Lee Middle School, was approved by the Coweta County Board of Education as the new principal of Newnan High School. 

The board also approved Dr. Jacqueline Stephens as the new principal of Brooks Elementary School at that meeting.

Both positions will become effective next school year, starting July 1, 2023. Kemp will replace Dr. Chase Puckett, who is leaving NHS to become the school system’s new Director of Instructional Services and Gifted Education.  Stephens will replace Dr. Jillian Andrew, who is leaving Brooks to become the school system’s new Director of Assessment and Accountability. 

Dr. Gamal Kemp is a 14-year educator, a Coweta native and graduate of Newnan High School (class of 2003), and a graduate of Morehouse College, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology.  In addition, Kemp has earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction through Walden University, a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership at Columbus State University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Walden University.

Before coming to Coweta Schools, Kemp worked for the Griffin-Spalding School System where he taught science and worked as an assistant principal.  He came back home to the Coweta County School System in the 2017-18 school year as an assistant principal at Evans Middle School, and was then chosen as the principal of Lee Middle School in the 2021-22 school year.

Kemp said he has enjoyed his time as principal of Lee Middle, but is looking forward to the challenge of Newnan High.

“I always wanted to come back to my community in my education career, in Coweta, and support teachers here because of the support they gave me as a student,” he said.  One teacher in particular Kemp cited was former Newnan High School educator Susan Mullins, who taught him Spanish and tutored him in the subject after school.  She also encouraged him at the time to join the first teacher cadet class at Newnan High, “and I agreed, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”  

“Dr. Mullins is one of the people who really got me involved in education,” said Kemp.  “I love the family atmosphere here in our community and at Newnan High School, so there is definitely a level of excitement for me in being able to go back to Newnan High and to support the school that supported me.”

Dr. Jacqueline Stephens is a 25-year educator and administrator and has served as the assistant principal of Northgate High School since 2018. Stephens moved to Coweta from a teaching career in the western U.S. She was hired at Northgate after serving as an elementary school principal in Goodyear, Arizona. Stephens earned her Bachelor’s degree and her Master’s degree in Curriculum from California State University, Bakersfield, and earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and her Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University. Her posting at Brooks means a return to elementary education for her, “so I’m very excited.  I feel like I’m going back to my people,” said Stephens.

The new principal appointments are part of a larger than normal set of administrative changes for the Coweta School System, driven largely by the retirement of long-time system leaders. 

Earlier this year, School System Assessment and Accountability Director Julie Raschen announced her retirement from the system at the end of this year, and system Director of Instructional Services and Gifted Education Schwanda Jackson retired in March. Madras Middle School Principal Lorraine Johnson also announced that she will finish her career after 17 years at the head of the north Coweta School after this school year as well.

In their regular May meeting, the school board approved a recommendation to appoint Newnan High’s Chase Puckett to succeed Jackson, and Brooks’ Jillian Andrew was approved to succeed Raschen in those roles.

Also earlier in May, the Board appointed current Madras Assistant Principal Herbert Betts to succeed Lorraine Johnson as Principal of Madras Middle School, following her retirement later this spring. The Board also approved East Coweta High School Assistant Principal Hap Hines as the new high school Principal of the Central Educational Center. Hines will replace current CEC principal David Dement, who was approved in April to become the principal of Smokey Road Middle School in the upcoming school year.

In March, the board also appointed Lee Middle School Assistant Principal Amy Addison to succeed Dana Ballou as the Principal of Northside Elementary School, after Ballou retires later this spring.

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