3 new Bartow principals prepare to meet students, parents

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When the bell rings Aug. 8 in Bartow County, three schools will have new principals at the helm.

Stephen Revard, former assistant principal at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, has taken the principalship of Cass High School from Michael Nelson, who was named coordinator of administrative services for Bartow County.

Euharlee Elementary Assistant Principal Tracey Alford was promoted to principal of Pine Log Elementary after Lenora Nyeste resigned to take the principal's position at Lost Mountain Middle School in Kennesaw. 

Former Bay Springs Middle School Assistant Principal Jennifer Miller has come to Bartow from Carroll County to fill the shoes of Dr. Bernadette "Bunny" DiPetta, who retired in June after 40 years with the school system. 

All three principals took over July 1, though some of them were on campus before then.    

Stephen Revard

Revard, 36, said he "couldn’t have felt more excited and blessed to join the Cass family" after finding out he'd been named the new principal.  

"Cass High School is a special place with an established tradition and great community support," he said. "Additionally, it was clear that Mr. Nelson and his team of teachers and staff have worked hard to support overall student success."

The Dallas resident said he's been on campus since the end of May, meeting individually with teachers and staff to gain insight — "an incredible resource" — on how they can best work together to establish a solid foundation for the upcoming school year.     

"I look forward to working with students, parents, teachers and staff to provide a well-rounded high school experience that encourages Cass students and graduates to maximize their potential and pursue their passions," he said. "We will work together by focusing on learning and results in the classroom, extracurricular success and by seeking opportunities to serve our community."

Students and parents will have several chances to meet their new principal before the first day of school: an open house for incoming freshman Aug. 6 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and different informational nights/forums that are based on parents' and students' individual needs.

Revard earned a bachelor's degree in education from Central Michigan University, a master's in education from Grand Canyon University and a specialist degree in educational leadership from Berry College.  

His 10-year career to this point has been spent entirely at North Cobb — six years as a teacher and four years as an assistant principal. 

He and his wife, Marsha, have been married for nine years and have two sons, Blake, 6, and Evan, 2.   

Tracey Alford

Alford, 49 "and holding," is no stranger to Bartow County. 

Besides spending her entire 23-year career in the school system, she is a native who graduated from Cass High School in 1987 when it was still in the building now occupied by the Bartow County College and Career Academy.

The Cartersville resident has either been a teacher or administrator in three other elementary schools before receiving her first principalship.  

"I am beyond excited to be named the principal of Pine Log Elementary," she said. "I feel so blessed to be a part of such an outstanding school and community." 

Alford knew she was in the right place when she saw the rocking chairs in front of the school.

"That was the first thing I noticed when I came to visit after the announcement of my principalship at Pine Log," she said. "I remember thinking, Wow! This feels like home."  

The new leader said she knows it "sounds cliché" to say she wanted the position so she could make a difference in the lives of her students, "but above all else, we must keep in mind that everything we do in education has to be for the good of the students."

"I wanted an opportunity to inspire teachers by building relationships with them to be the best they can be, which will, in turn, affect the students," she said. "Great teachers have such a huge impact on the lives of their students."

Alford said she spent most of June settling into her new office and working with the school improvement team, "made up of an awesome group of teachers and staff," to prepare for a successful school year. 

"I plan to work with the staff to make the 2018-2019 school year a smooth transition with new leadership in both the principal and assistant principal positions," she said. "It is very important to me for Pine Log to continue to be a close-knit community school serving the students so they can become the best they can be. Of course, as a school improvement team, we discussed data and set academic goals to work toward to make our great school even better for our students." 

Pine Log students, parents and community members can chat with Alford in the “meet the principal” area at open house Aug. 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. 

"I’m excited to create many new relationships through my new position," she said. 

Alford earned an undergraduate degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in interrelated special education from KSU and a specialist degree in administration from Lincoln Memorial University.

Beginning her 24th year of educating Bartow County students in some capacity, Alford spent her first year teaching kindergarten at Allatoona Elementary; moved to Kingston Elementary for years 2-8, where she taught special education in grades 3-5, served as student study team coordinator/literacy coach and was a fourth- and fifth-grade English language arts teacher; taught fourth- and fifth-grade at Euharlee Elementary for 12 years; and was promoted to assistant principal there, a position she held for three years. 

She has been married to Rudy Alford for nine years and has three sons, Austin, Braden and Carson Harris; two stepsons; and a daughter-in-law. 

Jennifer Miller

Miller, 44, said she's "very excited to be the new principal" at Taylorsville, and she "can't wait to begin this new journey with the staff, students and community."

"I want to improve the education of children, build capacity in teachers and grow as a leader," she said. "As principal, I have the honor of doing all three. Taylorsville is such a great community with solid roots and great people. I chose this school intentionally because I want to be a part of that."

A resident of Temple, Miller has some definite ideas on what she wants from her first year at the school.  "We plan to continue the traditions and activities that the students know and love while building some new ones that will involve the parents/guardians and even grandparents of our students," she said. "I also intend to continue building better writers and readers while developing a better love of math in every grade level."

Students and parents will be able to meet the new principal during the open house scheduled for Aug. 6 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Miller earned a Bachelor of Science in secondary English education (6-12) from Kennesaw State University and a Master of Arts in reading (certified reading specialist, K-12) and an education specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of West Georgia. She currently is working on her doctor of education degree in educational leadership and learning from KSU.

She began her education career at Villa Rica High School, where she taught for eight years. She served as assistant principal of McIntosh High School for one year before moving to her last position at Bay Springs, where she was the AP for three years.

Miller's husband is a Villa Rica police officer, and they have three children, ages 22, 20 and 19, between them.