Derek Bowen

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Derek BowenI am so excited to be the principal of Gilmer High School. I am a Georgia native and have lived in and around Gwinnett County most of my life. I graduated from Berkmar High School in 1989 with a desire to become a middle school teacher and coach. Those plans changed, and I eventually found my way into a project management position with a large mechanical contractor in Atlanta. The tug of education continued until I returned to college and completed three degrees in business and business education from Shorter University and the University of Georgia. GO DAWGS! I have been a business education teacher, a high school coach, an athletic director, assistant principal, and associate principal, all in Gwinnett County.

I just recently completed my 20th year in education and have loved every minute of it.

The opportunity to become the principal of Gilmer High School is one that I don’t take lightly. The community has proven to be a strong supporter of our public education system, and I appreciate their support as we increase opportunities for students both in and outside of the school building.

I look forward to this journey. It’s a great day to be a BOBCAT!

College and Career Academy Director

Carla Foley
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Carla Foley

It is a great honor and privilege to serve as director of our College and Career Academy! I am very blessed and fortunate to be part of a wonderful staff of teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators! Everyone's dedication and commitment to every student at GHS is apparent when you walk in the door.

I was born and raised in Norcross, GA, and I graduated from Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. I completed my undergraduate degree at Georgia Southern University, and then spent the next 22-years in Denver, CO, where I taught 6th grade for 15-years, was an assistant principal for 2-years and an elementary school principal for 5-years. During my time in Denver, I earned my M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology, as well as my Principal Licensure from the University of Colorado - Denver.

In December 2014, after visiting my family for Christmas Break and spending a week in Ellijay, we decided it was time to return to Georgia. We love Ellijay and look forward to many years of being a part of this community and serving the students and families of GHS!!!

Assistant Principals

Tiffany Boyette
Assistant Principal for Curriculum 

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Tiffany Boyette

I am very excited about working with the students and staff at Gilmer High School as the Academic Assistant Principal. I have taught a variety of grade levels and content areas. The grade levels range from grades 4-9. Math was always my area of specialty however, I have also taught science, social studies, language arts, and reading. I received my undergraduate degree from Florida Atlantic University, my Masters Degree from North Georgia College and State University, and my Specialist Degree from Lincoln Memorial University.

I was born and raised in Martin County, Florida. I moved to Ellijay, GA with my husband ten years ago. Gilmer County is our forever home and a perfect place to raise our three children.

Matt Johnson
Assistant Principal/Athletic Director

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Matt JohnsonI was born and raised in Gouverneur, New York, a    small community much like Ellijay. I earned my Bachelor's degree from SUNY Potsdam in 2001 in the fields of Elementary Education and History, My teaching experience began as a fourth-grade teacher in Paulding County, Georgia in 2002, and I spent eleven wonderful years in that position. In 2014, I was blessed with a teaching position in Gilmer County as a third-grade teacher at Ellijay Elementary. For the past three years I have served Ellijay Elementary, Gilmer Middle, and Clear Creek Middle as an Academic Coach. Now I am thrilled to work with the students and staff as an assistant principal at Gilmer High School. I received my Master's degree in Educational Administration from Jacksonville State University in 2006. I also earned my Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College in 2016.

As I mentioned, Ellijay is much like my hometown, minus the cold and snow, of course. That makes Gilmer County the perfect place to be. My wife and I are excited to raise our two children and future Bobcats in this outstanding school system and community.

Todd Gearhart Assistant Principal

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Todd GearhartI am truly blessed to be part of Gilmer County Schools and serve as assistant principal at GHS! High school can be one of the most memorable times in students’ lives, and we are excited about the experiences and challenges that await our students this year. 

I was born in Bluefield, VA, and moved to Dalton, GA, where I grew up and graduated from Northwest Whitfield High School. I received my undergraduate degree from West Georgia, Masters Degree from Walden University, and Specialist Degree in Leadership from Kennesaw State University. I spent 11 years as a teacher and administrator in the Whitfield County School system. In 2014, I had the privilege of coming to Gilmer County as assistant principal of Ellijay Primary. I have served in a leadership role at Ellijay Primary, Gilmer Middle School, and Gilmer High School. 

My wife, Jessica, is a teacher at Ellijay Elementary School, and we have two amazing boys. We love Ellijay and our wonderful community. We are proud to be Bobcats!