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Mrs. Brittani C. Abercrombie
Student Services

Mrs. Abercrombie is a native of Lumpkin County. She graduated in 2007 from Lumpkin County High School. In 2011 she graduated from the University of North Georgia with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. Brittani went on to get her master's degree in Special Education from Brenau University in 2014. Mrs. Abercrombie has been teaching Special Education at Blackburn Elementary School since 2012.

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Mrs. Kristen Ayres
Kindergarten Teacher

Kristen Ayres has been teaching Elementary Education grades K-3 for the last 26 years. She has a degree in Elementary Education K-8. Her husband and their three children have been living in Lumpkin County for the last 14 years.

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Mrs. Sherea W. Bates
Kindergarten Teacher

Sherea W. Bates is originally from Valdosta, Georgia, where she was proud to graduate as a "Wildcat" from Valdosta High School. She went on to receive her Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from Lee University. She later received her Master's Degree in Early Childhood from the University of North Georgia. Throughout her professional career as an educator, Mrs. Bates has had the pleasure of investing in the lives of young children as well as those of her colleagues.

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Mrs. April Bowen
Third Grade Teacher

Mrs. April Bowen teaches 3rd grade at Blackburn Elementary School. This is her 16th year teaching. She graduated from White County High School and then went on to complete college at the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Education. Later on, she received her Master's Degree in Education.

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Ms. Alison Burrell Brown
Second Grade Teacher

Alison B. Brown is from Habersham County, Georgia. Ms. Brown received her Associates Degree from Truett-McConnell College in 1994. She worked in the banking industry for many years before she decided to obtain her teaching degree. Ms. Brown attended Piedmont University where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2009 and Masters of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2014. She also graduated with her Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont University in 2021. Today Ms. Brown is in her eighth year of teaching at Blackburn Elementary.

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Mrs. Melissa K. Bynum
Third Grade Advanced Content Teacher

Melissa K. Bynum received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in the field of Early Childhood Education from the University of North Georgia (formerly North Georgia College & State University.) Additionally, Mrs. Bynum has earned educational endorsements in the areas of ESOL, mathematics, science, and gifted education. Mrs. Bynum loves living in the foothills of the mountains and spending time outside with her husband and two sons. She currently teaches third grade at Blackburn Elementary School.

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Melanie Charles
Second Grade Teacher

Melanie Charles graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. She went on to the University of Georgia where she earned a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has a Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition, Ms. Charles has a reading endorsement and a gifted endorsement.

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Mrs. Kristina Cochran
Fourth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Cochran has been teaching at Blackburn Elementary School since 2006. She feels teaching is her calling in life and she enjoys every moment in the classroom. Mrs. Cochran works to find ways to make learning engaging and challenging. She earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Georgia (formerly North Georgia College & State University) and her Master's Degree in Reading and Math from Walden University. Mrs. Cochran is also the proud mother to three young men who are serving in the United States Army.

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Mrs. Susan Corvacchioli
Curriculum Technology Specialist

Mrs. Corvacchioli received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey in 1993. She went on to receive a Master of Science degree in Elementary Reading and Mathematics from Walden University. Mrs. Corvacchioli is certified to teach Computer Science in PreK through 12th grade.

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Joanna Dusseau
Occupational Therapist and Assistive Technologist

Joanna was born and raised in Michigan, and I have been a practicing occupational therapist for over 21 years. After college, I was a travel therapist for many years, traveling and working in a total of 5 different states. My primary focus has been school-based pediatrics, but I have worked in all types of environments, including skilled nursing and transitional care units caring for the elderly. I have been living in GA for around seven years and am currently looking to move into the area permanently. In my spare time, you will find me on the lake, sailing, kayaking, doing stained glass art, and traveling.

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Daphney Faulkner
EIP and Physcial Education Teacher

Daphney is a life long resident of Dahlonega. She attended the University of North Georgia and received her Bachleor's Degree in Wellness. After a few years, Faulkner returned to UNG and received her Teaching Certification. Daphney completed her Masters Degree from the University of Alabama and she also holds and Education Specialist degree from Piedmont College. Faulkner begins her 19th year with the Lumpkin County School System and her 15th year at Blackburn Elementary!

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Mrs. Ashton Fortner
Student Services

Ashton Fortner is a graduate of Mount Paran Christian School. Mrs. Fortner received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from The University of North Georgia. Mrs. Fortner currently serves as Special Education at Blackburn Elementary School.

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Mrs. Meagan P. Grindle
Student Services

Meagan P. Grindle is from Gainesville, Georgia, and is entering her tenth year of teaching special education. She received her degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of North Georgia in 2012. Meagan has a reading endorsement, and is trained in the "Orton Gillingham" multisensory approach to reading, "Wilson" reading, and several other phonics based methods.

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Mrs. Karen A. Harwood
Elementary Art Teacher

Karen Harwood is the Art Teacher at Blackburn Elementary School. Mrs. Harwood received her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts, specifically Graphic Design, from the University of Georgia. From there she furthered her education and received a Master's of Music degree from Kent State University. Following graduation, Mrs. Harwood worked as a textile designer, graphic designer, college music professor and private oboe instructor. Currently, Mrs. Harwood teaches summer art classes at Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation Department and performs regularly with the Northwinds Community Band.

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Mr. Bud Henderson
Physical Education Teacher

Bud Henderson is a Forsyth County graduate who obtained his Bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from NGCSU in 2005, his Master's degree in Health and Physical Education from NGCSU in 2013, and his Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College in 2019. He started his teaching career at North Forsyth High School in 2005 and is currently teaching at Blackburn Elem. since 2019. He has two beautiful girls, Maddox and Kirkley and is married to his lovely wife Mindy.

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Mrs. Lori A. Hubbard, Ed.S
EIP Reading Teacher

Mrs. Lori A. Hubbard is an educator in her 20th year at Blackburn Elementary School. She attended University of North Georgia and received her bachelor's degree and master's degree in education. Mrs. Hubbard went on to complete her Ed.S in Educational Leadership and Administration at Lincoln Memorial University. Mrs. Hubbard has taught all grade levels and various areas K-12 in her career, and most recently has been a kindergarten and virtual teacher for Lumpkin County School System. This year she is currently teaching EIP reading, plans on leading a ukulele club for students, and is completing her ESOL endorsement.

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Mrs. Joy Jansen-Hollon
Fifth Grade Teacher

Joy Jansen-Hollon has been teaching for 16 years. She taught for 13 years in Carlsbad, California in grades Kinder through 5th. She holds a Masters Degree in Education and a National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards. She currently teaches 5th Grade at Blackburn.

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Ashley King
Speech-Language Pathologist

Ashley King recently moved up to the mountains of North Georgia to join our Lumpkin County Tribe. Prior to moving, Ms. King graduated with her master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Florida State University. Over the past four years, she has worked as a bachelor-level speech pathologist in the Alachua County Public Schools in Gainesville, Florida. This year, she is thrilled to be serving students at Blackburn Elementary School.

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Christa Kolb
Speech Language Pathologist

Christa Kolb is excited to join the Lumpkin County School System. She was born and raised in Dunwoody, Georgia where she returned to work for the Dekalb County School System for 14 years. Christa received her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Asbury College and her Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Georgia. She began her Speech Therapy career in the Cobb County School District. Christa then moved to Australia where she had an amazing experience serving the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. She then returned and worked for Babies Can't Wait before returning to the school setting.

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Mr. Brian McCarty
Music Teacher

Brian McCarty has been teaching in Lumpkin County his entire career. Over his many years of teaching, he has taught at all of the schools. Mr. McCarty earned his Bachelor's from Georgia Southwestern, Master's from University of Georgia (Go Dawgs) and Specialist degree from Piedmont.

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Mrs. Barbara Myers
First Grade Teacher

Barbara Myers received her bachelor's degree in Education from Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. She went on to receive a master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and her specialist degree in Teaching and Learning from Piedmont University. She believes self-control breeds self-esteem.

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Bonita Pettersen
Second Grade Teacher

Bonita Pettersen is originally from Long Island, New York. She came to Dahlonega 20 years ago. Previously she was in Cape Coral, FL. She holds a Specialist of Education Degree in Curriculum Instruction.

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Kari Ramsey
Fifth Grade Teacher

Kari Ramsey was born and raised in Gwinnett County. After attending college at the University of North Georgia, she fell in love with the small town feel of Lumpkin County. Mrs. Ramsey has taught fifth grade and special education. When not at school, she loves going to Disney with her husband and two kids.

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Mrs. Jan Rhodes
Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Rhodes grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia. After graduating high school she attended Georgia State University and received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. Throughout her career Mrs. Rhodes has worked in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Walton and Lumpkin counties teaching all grades K-4. Today she is in her 5th year teaching Kindergarten at Blackburn Elementary.

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Brittny P. Stephens
Kindergarten Teacher

Brittny Stephens was born in Lafayette, La. and grew up in Grayson, Ga. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from The University of North Georgia in 2006. In 2019, she earned her Master of Arts in Education degree from Piedmont University and in 2021, she received her Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

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Mrs. Sonya Walker
Kindergarten Teacher

Sonya Walker is originally from Gwinnett Co. Georgia. She attended UNG for her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. She obtained her Masters and Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont University. She has been at Blackburn Elementary since 2014 and has taught both second grade and kindergarten.

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Mrs. Jennifer Webb
Student Services

Jennifer Webb is a graduate of Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County. Mrs. Webb received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from The University of North Georgia. Mrs. Webb also received a Reading Endorsement from The University of North Georgia. Mrs. Webb serves as a Special Education teacher at Blackburn Elementary School.

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Ms. Ivy M. Westmoreland
Student Services

Ivy M. Westmoreland is a lifelong White County resident. She graduated from White County High School in 2016 and then pursued a career in education. Ms. Westmoreland graduated from the University of North Georgia in May of 2021 with a Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She expressed her excitement in working in Lumpkin County and making an impact on the community.

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Dr. Jennifer E. Wimpy
Third Grade Teacher

Dr. Wimpy was born and raised in Dahlonega and attended LCES, LCMS, and graduated from LCHS in 1993. She is honored to teach and work in the same system she attended. Dr. Wimpy earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees at Brenau University and her Educational Specialist and Doctoral degrees at Walden University. She has been teaching K-5th grades for 22 years. Dr. Wimpy loves teaching and watching children learn and grow!

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Mrs.Karen Antonia ED.S
Student Services

Karen Antonia is a graduate of Lumpkin County High School. Mrs. Antonia received her bachelor's degree from North Georgia College and State University and continued her education at Western Governors University obtaining a Master's degree in Special Education. She also completed her Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont University. Mrs. Antonia currently serves as a Special Education teacher at Blackburn Elementary School.

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Mrs. Jennifer Bateman
Fourth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Bateman has been teaching elementary school since 1996. She has spent the last 15 years in Lumpkin County at Blackburn Elementary. She is an honor graduate of Rollins College.

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Mrs. Jacquelyn L. Bowden
Fourth Grade Teacher

Jacquelyn Bowden started out teaching Art at Blackburn Elementary the year the school opened. After around a decade of teaching art, she made the transition to second grade, soon after, looping up to third grade with a great group of children. Just recently, she made the jump to fourth grade. She has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Blackburn family for all of its years!

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Ms. Juanita Brackett
Second Grade Teacher

Juanita Brackett is a lifelong resident of Dahlonega, Georgia and a graduate of Lumpkin County High School. She attended University of North Georgia and received her degree in early childhood education. She started her career at LCES, and is presently teaching at BES.

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Reanna Brown
First Grade Teacher

This is Reanna's 6th year in education. She has her bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Western Governs University. She is excited to see what this new school year holds.

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Kimberly Caldwell
Kindergarten Teacher

Kimberly Caldwell grew up in Dahlonega, Georgia and graduated from Lumpkin County School System. Mrs. Kimberly Caldwell attended Brenau University and graduated May 2020 with her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Kimberly Caldwell resides in Dahlonega with her husband and three boys.

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Mrs. Meghan Chester
First Grade Teacher

Meghan Chester found her home in Dahlonega after attending University of North Georgia (formally North Georgia College and State University) where she received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. She went on to receive her master's degree from Walden University and her specialist degree in Teaching and Learning from Piedmont College. Currently Mrs. Chester is a first grade teacher for Lumpkin County Schools. This is a wonderful place to raise a family and call home.

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Mrs. Kendra Coker
Fourth Grade Teacher

Kendra Coker is a fourth grade teacher at Blackburn Elementary School. Mrs. Coker earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of North Georgia in Early Childhood Education. She earned her Education Specialist degree in School Leadership from Piedmont College. Mrs. Coker has been an elementary teacher for 21 years. Fifteen of those years were spent in Dawson County where she was Teacher of the Year in 2013-2014. Mrs. Coker has additional certifications in Reading, Gifted Education, and ESOL.

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Mrs. Brittany A. DeVault
Student Services

Mrs. Brittany DeVault is a new special education teacher to the Lumpkin County school system. She is a Dawsonville native with close ties to Dahlonega. She obtained a Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governor's University. After 5 years teaching in general education classrooms she obtained certification in special education, general and adapted curriculum.

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Ms. Jessica Edmondson
First Grade Teacher

Ms. Edmondson graduated with her Bachelors degree from the University of North Georgia in 2005. She received her M.A. from Piedmont University in 2010. She has taught at Blackburn since 2005.

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Mrs. Nikki Fitzgerald
Fifth Grade teacher

Nikki Fitzgerald is from McDonough, Ga. She moved to Dahlonega two years ago where she now lives with her husband, baby boy, and three dogs. Nikki graduated with her bachelors degree in early childhood education from Georgia Gwinnett College in 2017. She is currently working on her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of North Georgia. This is Nikki’s fifth year teaching, but first year at Blackburn Elementary school.

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Mrs. Kimberly M. Greene
Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Kimberly M. Greene attended the University of North Georgia. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood/ Special Education. She has a Reading Endorsement and is ESOL certified. This is Mrs. Greene’s sixth year teaching Kindergarten at Blackburn Elementary School.

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Bridget Grizzle
Student Services

Ms. Bridget Grizzle is a special education teacher at Blackburn Elementary School. She received her bachelor degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Valdosta State University in 2018, and has taught in special education in Lumpkin County since she graduated. Ms. Grizzle has had a passion and calling to work with people with special needs since she was in high school.

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Mrs. Beth Hawk
Lead Special Education Teacher

Beth moved to Dahlonega in 1996 and graduated from Lumpkin County High School in 2002. She received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from the University of North Georgia in 2009. Beth has worked at Blackburn Elementary School for the past eleven years and during that time she continued her education by receiving her Master's Degree in Special Education from Walden University and her Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College. She currently serves in the role of Lead Special Education Teacher at Blackburn Elementary School.

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Mrs. Cindy K Howard
Second Grade Teacher

This year is my 15th year of teaching at BES! I live in Cumming with my husband and our dog. I am a firm believer in God and strive to show His love every day to each child and coworker I encounter. I love teaching and can’t wait to see what this year holds!

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Cara Hunt
Fifth Grade Teacher

Cara Hunt graduated from Lumpkin County High School and then went on to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from the University of North Georgia. While teaching she received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College. Mrs. Hunt is currently in her 8th year of teaching at Blackburn Elementary.

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Ms. Adrienne Kidd, EdS.
Student Services

Ms. Kidd graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. As well as her Master's in Special Education. She also attended Piedmont College earning her Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. Ms. Kidd has taught for eighteen years in Lumpkin County.

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Jennifer Kingsbury
First Grade Teacher

Jennifer Kingsbury attended UNG where she graduated in 2006 with a dual degree in Early Education/Special Education. She has been teaching for 16 years and has experience in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. She earned a Masters Degree from Piedmont University in 2021.

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Mrs. Madison Martinez
Second Grade Teacher

Mrs. Martinez was born and raised in Dahlonega. After graduating from our very own Lumpkin County Schools she went on to attend the then, North Georgia College and State University. Mrs. Martinez graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Immediately following graduation she went to work at Blackburn Elementary and taught kindergarten for the first four years and then second grade where she currently teaches. Mrs. Martinez feels very blessed to be able to serve the community and school system that raised her.

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Susie Mitchem
Third Grade Teacher

Susie Mitchem has lived in Dahlonega for over twenty years. She earned her Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Master's Degree from North Georgia College and University in Education for Middle School and Elementary. She also has a specialist degree from Lincoln University in Education.

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Mrs. Megan Pendley
Kindergarten Teacher

Megan grew up in Dahlonega and graduated in purple and gold. She met her husband at Long Branch elementary school in 2nd grade and they spent a life time being Indians. She attended UNG and went on to Walden university to receive her masters degree. She taught in Forsyth County for 8 years before she finally came back home to continue her career at Blackburn. She is currently teaching Kindergarten at BES and is so proud to be Chief. Mrs. Pendley has a 2 year old daughter and attends Dahlonega United Methodist Church.

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Mrs. Ashley Pruitt
Fifth Grade Teacher

Ashley Pruitt, originally from Alpharetta, is currently teaching 5th grade at Blackburn. She graduated from Georgia Gwinnett with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. She went on to obtain her Masters Degree, Gifted Endorsement and ESOL Endorsement.

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Mrs. Julie L. Ray
First Grade Teacher

Mrs. Ray graduated from Lumpkin County Schools. She received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from North Georgia College and State University (now UNG). She has her endorsement in reading and is gifted certified. She taught four years in Special Education, and is currently in her eighth year teaching first graders.

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Nichole Stancil
Student Services

Mrs. Stancil graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor's degree in Human Services. Mrs. Stancil then went on to obtain her Master's degree in Special Education and a Graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her passion is teaching children with autism, being a mom to her two kids Sam and Sophia, and coaching the LCHS competition cheer team.

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Mrs. Joye Thompson
Third Grade Teacher

Mrs. Thompson has been teaching 16 years at Blackburn Elementary School. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Education at the University of North Georgia and her Master's from Walden University with a focus of Integrating Technology in the Classroom. Mrs. Thompson has taught Pre-k, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. She is currently a third grade teacher.

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Mrs. Amanda A. Warren
Student Services

Amanda Warren graduated from Dawson County Schools and attended University of North Georgia for both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Special Education. She received her Specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University. Mrs. Warren currently serves as a self-contained special education classroom teacher.

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Mrs. Dana Welch
Fifth Grade Teacher

Dana Welch, originally from Illinois, graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education from North Georgia College and State University. She later went on to obtain her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, both her Gifted and ESOL Endorsements, and is a Reading Horizons Trainer for Lumpkin County Schools. Mrs. Welch is married to a local business owner and has 2 children that attend Lumpkin County Schools. Currently, Mrs. Welch is just living her best life by spending time with her family and doing what she loves the most, teaching children to be the best they can be.

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Mrs. Grace E. Wimpy
Third Grade Teacher

Mrs. Wimpy was born and raised in south Georgia. She made her way to Dahlonega in 2011 to attend the University of North Georgia. She has taught in Forsyth County for one year, and Lumpkin County for the last five years. She graduated from the University of North Georgia in 2016 with a dual degree in Early Childhood & Special Education. She received her Master's degree in 2020.

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Mrs. Karen Woody
Fourth Grade Teacher

Karen Woody is a native of Lumpkin County. She was an honor graduate from Lumpkin County High School. Mrs. Woody continued her education in Dahlonega at the University of North Georgia, receiving both a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Woody later attended Piedmont College and earned her Specialist Degree in Teaching and Learning. She is currently teaching 4th grade at Blackburn Elementary and working with Mountain Education Charter High School helping students to earn their high school diploma.