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Posted: February 1, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Interim principal excited to move NHS forward

Newton High School’s former principal decided to resign from the county’s namesake institution, but that doesn’t mean the school has no leader to motivate and guide its students through the remainder of the school year.

Assistant principal John Ellenberg said he is excited to serve as acting principal for Newton High. Newton County School System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey, in a swift decision, named Ellenberg as interim principal of NHS Tuesday. Former NHS principal Eclan David resigned the evening before due to "personal reasons," a news release from the district said.

Ellenberg, whose entire career as an educator has been at NHS, said he started teaching science classes in 2001 at the high school, which included biology, physical science, environmental science and other courses. He also served as a science department chair. He graduated from Georgia College and State University in 2000 and earned a master of arts degree in teaching from Piedmont College in 2003.

Ellenberg gained an educational leadership degree from Nova Southwestern University in Miami, Fla., and a specialist in educational leadership from the University of West Georgia. In 2008, he was named as an administrator at Newton High.

Last year, when the position of principal opened up after previously serving Principal Craig Lockhart was appointed deputy superintendent of schools for the district, Ellenberg said he was interested in the job and applied for the position. However, the BOE unanimously approved David as principal of NHS at its July meeting.

After recently being named to serve as principal for the next couple of months, Ellenberg said that he was honored to accept the position and he is ready to work with a committed and professional group of educators.

He also added that he is grateful for the opportunity to lead at the school where he has served for the past 13 years. In addition, he released a letter on the school’s website to the Newton High community.

"At Newton High we are focused on motivating students to achieve educational excellence and work to prepare them for success. While our youth today face challenges which distract them from seeing their full potential, I am committed to working with parents and staff as we help these young men and women see past the challenges and to begin to envision the possibilities for their future," he wrote.

In moving the high school forward, Ellenberg said, "In a collaborative effort, I will work with the school’s faculty to ensure our students feel cared for to help them recognize they are capable of academic success.

"I am also focused on providing a school climate that promotes safety for our students and staff."

"I look forward to partnering with leaders in the community to further introduce the students at Newton High School to the opportunities available to them."

Lockhart previously noted that Ellenberg was a beloved NHS faculty member, who already had the school’s support.

In addition, Fuhrey said the response of the Newton High School team demonstrates great respect, support, and commitment to Ellenberg as he transitions to his new role.

Ellenberg expressed his gratitude for the support.

"I am humbled by the reaction of both the school faculty and student body to my appointment," he said. "Their reception of this news has been incredible."

Ellenberg, from Greene County, lives in Cobb County with his wife and their young son.

In addition to Ellenberg being named interim principal, Fuhrey named NHS English teacher Ryan Norman as his replacement for the assistant principal position.

Fuhrey said the position for NHS principal will be posted in the near future.

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