Two of Madison County’s five elementary schools will have new principals at the helm when a new school year begins this fall.
At Colbert Elementary, Christopher Forrer will take over as principal on July 1, when current principal Sandra Seymour retires.
Forrer is currently serving as the principal at Union Point STEAM Academy and Elementary School in Greene County, where he is completing his first year.
Forrer said he is “super excited” to be coming to Madison County and says he has already learned to say “Colbert” correctly.
“I was saying it wrong (with a long ‘o’), and the folks at the school got on to me pretty quickly,” he said chuckling.
He and his wife Laurie, have three boys who will all be enrolled at Colbert. Christopher, Jr. will be a fifth grader, Griffin will be a fourth grader and Nathan will be in the second grade.
Forrer said he was impressed by the “great, progressive school system” in Madison County, making him eager to be a part of it, both as a principal and as a parent of young children.
“Colbert Elementary has been well taken care of by Mrs. Seymour and I am honored to follow her as principal and hope to continue her standard of excellence,” he said.
Forrer is from New York originally, but went to college in Maryland and began his teaching career there. After eight years, he says he and Laurie decided to consider moving to Georgia, even though they didn’t know anyone here at the time.
They came for a visit over spring break one year, and Forrer found a job right away in a south Atlanta school system.
“We’ve been here ever since and we love it, we’re never leaving Georgia,” he said.
He later moved into administration as an assistant principal in Griffin, then into the principal’s position in Greene County.
Now he and his family are making the move to Madison County, where they plan to purchase a home.
“That’s her (Laurie’s) specialty, whatever I decide is typically wrong, ” Forrer joked. “So I’ll move where she tells me.”
Forrer said he has been impressed not only by the students and staff at Colbert Elementary, but also by the community support the school receives.
“The parents and the community are engaged in their children’s education and I like that,” he said.
Forrer said he plans to get involved not only at school, but also in church and on the ball fields.
“I am a big believer that that’s where you get to know people and I want to be a visible presence in the
community as well as at Colbert Elementary,” he said.
Seymour said it has been a joy for her to be principal at Colbert for the past three years, and she points out that Colbert is also where she taught her very first class.
“It’s like an Oreo cookie,” she said. “I started here and am ending here and in the middle was Ila, where I was (teacher and later assistant principal) for 24 years. I’ve come full circle.”
Seymour said she has loved her career and loved her kids.
“I am so excited about Mr. Forrer coming here as principal,” she said. “He has good ideas and good vision. He also loves the diversity in the student population and enjoys working with all ethnicities. I am leaving the school in good hands.”
Over at Ila Elementary, Mandy Wommack is getting ready to move from her position as assistant principal into her new role as principal on July 1.
Wommack has served for three years as assistant principal at the school, taking over for Sandra Seymour when she left for Colbert Elementary.
Wommack came to Ila from Hull-Sanford Elementary, where she taught EIP classes in first, third and fourth grade, and also taught third and fourth grade. She began her career in education as a parapro and then a teacher at Comer Elementary.
She and her husband of 19 years, Jason Wommack, who works for Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, live in Watkinsville. They have no children of their own, Wommack says, but plenty of nieces and nephews and are “pet parents” of a dog named Lucy.
Wommack received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and an her masters in early childhood education from Piedmont College and her special degree in education administration from Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee.
“I am honored and grateful to have this opportunity to continue to serve Madison County at Ila Elementary School, where the students come first and will continue to do so.”
Wommack said she is proud of Ila’s exemplary reputation and success and wants to see that continue under her leadership.
“I look forward to having the opportunity to work even more closely with the staff, families and the children here at Ila. It takes everybody being involved to do what’s best for the kids.”
Current principal Lynne Jeffers said she is looking forward to retirement, though she has enjoyed her 10 years as Ila’s principal.
Jeffers said she will be returning to Ila from time to time as a volunteer when her granddaughter starts kindergarten this fall.
“I’ve told everybody it’s her turn and that this school isn’t big enough for me and her both,” she joked.
She said it feels good to be handing the school’s leadership over to Wommack, who she’s known for 24 years.
“I first met her when I was teaching at Comer and she was a volunteer, then a parapro and later a teacher,” Jeffers said.
She said the school would be in excellent hands.
“Mandy has had her hands all over Madison County’s school system and she has a feel for how things work,” Jeffers said. “She will do just fine.”