Dr. Sandra Carraway, who brought Riverside Middle School to national prominence when it was named a National Blue Ribbon School this year, has been named the new principal of Greenbrier High School.
The Columbia County Board of Education Tuesday night also named Harlem Middle School Assistant Principal Carolyn Fries (pronounced freeze) as Grovetown Middle School's new principal.
The 27-year veteran will replace Tom McClendon, former principal of Oconee Middle School, who was named to head GMS by the board in spring. He resigned last month, the week before his contract was set to begin, citing personal reasons. The school is now under construction and is expected to open mid-year.
Ms. Fries has been assistant principal at HMS for the past five years. She has eight years of experience teaching social studies and world history, and has been an administrator in Florida, Kentucky and Nevada.
"This is just the frosting on the cake," she said of her new appointment.
The school system's plan is to divide Harlem's 850 student population and its teachers into two schools at the beginning of the year. Grovetown Middle's students and teachers will be placed in the 16 portable units that are now at Harlem Middle School.
When school resumes after the holidays, those teachers and students will be moved to the new school.
"Right now we're focusing on making sure we have a smooth start Aug. 7," Ms. Fries said. "Construction is going well, supplies and equipment have been ordered; some will arrive sooner, some later. There will be a little more of a challenge to it. This is the greatest community and the hardest thing will be to separate into two. But at the beginning of the year we will be the invited guests of our sister school."
At Greenbrier High School, Dr. Carraway will replace former GHS Principal Gloria Hamilton who has moved to the central office to take on a newly created position as Title I instructional improvement director.
"It is bittersweet," she said. "Riverside Middle was a wonderful place to be for the past three years, especially being named a National Blue Ribbon School this past summer."
Dr. Carraway, 38, who taught high school Spanish and English, said moving to Greenbrier is a natural progression. The biggest challenge the school faces will be dealing with the growth in that area. The school sits inside Riverwood Plantation, one of the largest planned housing developments in the works. She will head a staff of 85 and a student population of about 1,500.
"Greenbrier is a young school, six years old," said Dr. Carraway, a 17-year education veteran. "In a couple of years it will probably be the county's largest school. It's nice to have the opportunity to grow with a school that will only get better."
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