New leaders named at five North Fulton schools



NORTH FULTON, Ga. – The Fulton County School System (FCSS) is moving quickly to replace school leaders who stepped down or moved on to other positions as the school year came to a close. At North Fulton schools, new principals were named at five schools with end-of-year vacancies, leaving only two schools still seeking a permanent principal before the start of classes on Aug. 11.

New principals at North Fulton schools include:

Northview High – Brian Downey

Johns Creek High – Gail Johnson

Crabapple Middle – Rako Morrissey

Crabapple Crossing Elementary – Rachel Williams

Hembree Springs Elementary – Laurie Woodruff

With these latest appointments, only two schools in North Fulton – Sweet Apple and Mimosa elementary schools in Roswell – remain with interim principals. School system officials said both schools will likely have permanent principals in place by the start of school.

Brian P. Downey – Northview High

Downey will replace former Principal Paul Brannon who has accepted a new position out of state. Downey has been an assistant principal at Northview since 2010, and has been a mentor to aspiring principals and lead teachers in the Northeast Learning Community. He is also involved in community-based initiatives including Student Leadership Johns Creek and the Johns Creek Think Tank. Prior to coming to Fulton County Schools, Downey was the dean of students at Attleboro High School (Mass.). He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Providence College (R.I.), and a master’s of education in educational leadership from Fitchburg State College (Mass.).

Gail Johnson – Johns Creek High

Johnson has 25 years of educational experience as a teacher, administrator and principal in grades K-12 public schools. She was formerly the principal at Campbell Middle School in Cobb County and also served as the assistant principal at Osborne High School in Cobb. Her teaching experience includes time at CrossRoads Alternative HS/MS (Cherokee), Ralph J. Bunche Middle School (Atlanta), Campbell Elementary School (Union City) and Pyne Poynt Middle School (N.J.). Johnson earned an education specialist degree and master’s degree in education from Kennesaw State University and a bachelor’s degree in English education from Temple University (Pa.). Johnson replaces former Johns Creek Principal Buck Greene, who took a position with the Atlanta School System.

Rako Morrissey – Crabapple Middle School

Formerly the principal at New Prospect Elementary School in Alpharetta, Morrissey replaces Nathan Buhl, who is now the principal at Milton High School. She has 10 years’ experience as a classroom teacher, two years as an area lead teacher and three years in administration experience.

In addition to her time at New Prospect, Morrissey was the principal at Pine Mountain Middle School (Marietta Schools), and was a classroom teacher in Cobb and Henry County school systems.

Morrissey has doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in education from Kennesaw State University, as well as an educational specialist degree in math education from University of West Georgia. At Kennesaw State, she was an assistant professor of math for two years.

Rachel Williams – Crabapple Crossing Elementary

Williams comes to the Fulton County School System from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System (N.C.) where she had been an elementary school principal since 2011. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal in the Newton County School System and a classroom teacher in the DeKalb County School System and in South Carolina, where she was named the 2007 Teacher of the Year at her elementary school.

Woodruff holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Columbia College, a master’s in educational leadership from University of West Georgia, a specialist in educational leadership from University of West Georgia and a 2013 doctorate in educational leadership from Clark Atlanta University.

Laurie H. Woodruff – Hembree Springs Elementary

Woodruff moves to Hembree Springs Elementary from Roswell North Elementary, where she served as the assistant principal since 2012. In that position, she assisted in the school’s progression as a Cohort One school under the new charter system, served as the testing coordinator and represented the district’s elementary schools on the Code of Conduct Revision Committee.

Woodruff’s past experience includes stints at Barnwell Elementary, where she was the curriculum support teacher and math instructional coach, and as a classroom teacher at High Point Elementary (Fulton), Cleveland Elementary (Fayetteville) and Bryan County Elementary.

Woodruff has a master’s degree in education from the University of West Georgia and bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Valdosta State University.


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