North Cobb High School Principal
What are your main responsibilities?
I always speak to our parents about their child’s safety being my No. 1 concern each day on campus. Naturally, we want to challenge students to reach those highest levels of academic achievement, and, along the way, we want them to enjoy their high school experience in all the many extracurricular activities that exist at North Cobb. I hope they look back on their time as a Warrior with the fondest of memories.
What is your background?
I was hired as North Cobb’s principal in the summer of 2018 after 15 previous years as a teacher, coach and administrator in Cobb County schools. I taught social studies and coached football and soccer for several years at McEachern and Harrison before becoming an assistant principal and athletic director at Harrison through the 2016-17 school year. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and received a master’s degree in educational leadership from Kennesaw State University in 2006 and a specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from Lincoln Memorial University in 2012.
What’s been the biggest job surprise?
I don’t know if I would consider it a surprise, but it’s awesome to see how many families have a link with North Cobb in their family history. We’ve been on this site since 1958, and for years, we were the only high school in northwest Cobb County. I can’t tell you how many times, through my years as principal, I have had someone introduce themselves as a graduate of North Cobb. Usually, the conversation continues with a list of their family members who went to North Cobb. I love hearing these stories and the years that they or a family member went to our school. The community support we receive from the residents of Acworth and Kennesaw continues to be a major positive for our staff members and families.
What’s the oddest thing you’ve handled as principal?
I guess one of the more unusual things handled in the last few years was during the football season of 2021, when we hosted ESPN for a Friday night game. North Cobb Athletic Director Matt Williams did all the work on how this game would be nationally televised and what could or could not be on the field, due to sponsorships with ESPN. They pretty much take over part of the campus for two days as they get ready for the broadcast. I think we had four games on TV that year between Georgia Public Broadcasting, Peachtree TV and ESPN. I think Matt would agree that it was well worth the effort, as our players, cheerleaders, band, ROTC and student body had a great time showing off the Friday night experience at Emory Sewell Stadium.
What do you like most about your job?
I really like the busy atmosphere of high school life for our Warrior students and staff members. There is a completely separate day that begins each day on our campus at 3:30 p.m., after dismissal. Games, practices, performances, tutoring and booster meetings take over campus after school. Another thing about high school life that I’ve always enjoyed is you get to see these students come in as ninth-graders, and it’s awesome to see the different paths they take in four years, as we prepare them for life after North Cobb. I love the diversity our student body has with their plans for post-North Cobb. We have kids who will go to Ivy League schools, SEC/ACC schools, technical schools to learn a trade, service academies, the military, and many will go straight into the workforce. This diversity in the student body is another positive that our staff continues to support.
What accomplishment makes you proud?
Five years ago, our guiding coalition (teachers/administrators/counselors group) decided on trying to improve our graduation rate, which tended to be in the mid- to high 80 percentile. This past year, the graduation rate was 92.6% for our four-year cohort and 98.6% for students who spend all four years on our campus. This was an incredible effort by our entire staff to challenge and support students as they worked toward meeting those graduation requirements. In 2019 and 2020, North Cobb, along with the city of Acworth, established a “sister city” relationship with Selma, Alabama, which offered several Warriors the opportunity to travel to Selma to study its historical influence, meet fellow high school students and support local residents with community service projects. This past year, North Cobb was recognized by the Positive Athletes organization as Georgia’s Most Positive High School. I think this goes directly to the positive relationships our coaches have with our athletes and their families.
What is most exciting about the future?
As many of our Acworth and Kennesaw residents know, North Cobb has been on this site since 1958, and many parts of the original campus still are in use today. With the passage of the ESPLOST VI (educational special-purpose local-option sales tax), we will have a major upgrade in the facility in the coming years, and I’m looking forward to being involved in this planning.
What are your goals?
As principal, my goal is to continue moving North Cobb forward in all areas. Our school mission/vision statement is Warrior Nation: Inspiring Excellence, and that’s what I want to see in all areas on our campus. I want to see excellence in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in fine arts performances and from our students out in the communities of Acworth and Kennesaw. We’ve also focused on developing even stronger relationships with our elementary and middle school feeders to foster Warrior pride for these future North Cobb Warriors.
Tell us about your family and hobbies.
I’m blessed to be married for almost 20 years to my wife, Gillian, who is a counselor, competition cheer coach and gymnastics coach at Harrison. We have three wonderful daughters we’re extremely proud of, Mary Mattalyn, 16, cheerleader; Hendley, 14, gymnast; and Clara Jack, 12, soccer player. We’ve got two chocolate Labradors, Molly and Finn, that keep our girls busy, and we love going to concerts and University of Georgia football games, wake surfing on Lake Allatoona, snow skiing out West and attending NorthStar Church in Kennesaw.