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Leadership changes at Johnnie Lay Burks Elementary School

The Clarke County School District has accepted the resignation of Tracy Neal as principal of Johnnie Lay Burks Elementary School, effective Jan. 31.

Tracy Neal

Neal left to accept a position with another school district in Georgia.

Matthew Snow, who has served as the assistant principal at Burks Elementary since 2020, has been appointed to serve as interim principal while the district office and Burks local school governance team (LSGT) begin the search process for the most qualified candidate to become the school’s next principal.

Matthew Snow

Mr. Snow is a lifelong educator with 24 years of experience and is also the son of two educators. He began his teaching career in Pennsylvania as a secondary special-education teacher and then taught English in Japan through an exchange program before joining CCSD as a special-education teacher at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School in 2004. Mr. Snow joined Burks in 2009 as a special-education teacher and team leader and held that position until becoming assistant principal in 2020. He is married and has two daughters.

“I am honored to step into the role of interim principal at Johnnie Lay Burks Elementary,” said Mr. Snow. “For the past 15 years, this school community has been my extended family. The opportunity to lead and contribute to the growth of this incredible school fills me with excitement and a profound sense of responsibility. I am eager to continue the positive and enriching environment that Ms. Neal has created over the past three years for both students and staff. I look forward to working collaboratively to uphold the school's standards of excellence.”

In addition, Magen Watkins, who has been an instructional coach at Burks since 2021, will serve as interim assistant principal during the transition period.

Magen Watkins

A native of Athens and CCSD graduate, Dr. Watkins joined the CCSD team in 2006 as a teacher at Barnett Shoals Elementary, where she taught until moving to Burks in her current role. She has a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia and received her master’s degree in Teaching and doctorate in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont University.

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I had a frittata for breakfast, with some freshly squeezed orange juice.

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