New principals took the helm at several local schools this school year, and some schools opened new buildings or facilities.

New faces

Charles Gardner.

Charles Gardner is now principal at Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, a position previously held by Robert Shaw, who was appointed to serve as principal of Roswell High School. Gardner was most recently the principal at Sandy Springs Charter Middle School. He is an active member of the Sandy Springs Rotary Club and a graduate of Leadership Sandy Springs, according to the announcement about his appointment.

An interim principal was appointed fill Gardner’s role as principal of Sandy Springs Charter Middle School while the district searches for a permanent replacement. Serving as interim principal is Jerome Huff, who recently retired after serving 17 years as the principal of Roswell High School.

Laura Baez.

Laura Baez is now serving as principal of Montclair Elementary School in Brookhaven. Baez was previously an assistant principal at Kingsley Charter Elementary School in Dunwoody.

Rebecca Braaten.

Rebecca Braaten has been named principal Chamblee Charter High School, which serves students in both Brookhaven and Dunwoody. She was previously assistant superintendent at Muscogee County Schools. Braaten replaced Norman Sauce who left the school to take an administrative position with Griffin-Spalding County Schools.

Luis Ottley.

St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Brookhaven named a new head of school this year. Luis Ottley replaces James Hamner, who resigned to return to university teaching and writing after serving as St. Martin’s head of school for 17 years. Ottley previously served as a head of school in California and a middle school principal in New York.

John Waller.

At E. Rivers Elementary School in Buckhead, John Waller is the new principal. Waller replaced Matt Rogers, who resigned to relocate to D.C., citing recent personal events. Waller was previously an administrator at Marietta City Schools, where he was the director of secondary curriculum and instruction.

New places
Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs opened a new building this year as part of the first of seven phases of construction. The first phase included the construction of the first two floors of a new classroom building at the school located off Heards Ferry Road. A third floor will be built in phase two, which will begin in the summer of 2018. The first phase includes a new baseball field and an expanded and renovated cafeteria, according to school documents.

Pace Academy’s new softball field in Mableton.

Construction of more parking and a new sidewalk was completed in August at Ashford Park Elementary School in Brookhaven. The school added 320 feet of sidewalk to the existing network at the school and 29 ADA compliant parking spots. Two raised crosswalks complete with reflective striping and signage were also added.

Pace Academy in Buckhead opened a new softball field this year. The field is located on Riverview Road in Mableton. The expansion of the school’s sports complex on Riverview also includes a training facility, locker rooms and bathrooms.

Galloway School in Buckhead opened its first dining hall on campus. A former common area for middle school students was renovated to serve as a dining facility that serves prepared food.

Previously, students ate lunch in common spaces on campus, including in hallways and on the lawn. Students now have the option of eating in the dining facility, said Claire Horn, a communications specialist at Galloway School.