Bear Creek Middle School has a new principal, but she’s not new to the area.

Lauren Carter easily talks about coming home.

She taught at Statham Elementary School for three years and has lived in the school district for five years – about five minutes from the school, she said.

“I really was ready to come home,” she said.

She said her husband is from Statham and they have two children, a 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

“Statham is a really special community,” she said.

Carter officially was hired at the Barrow County school board meeting Aug. 28.

She was still splitting her time between Bear Creek and Winder Elementary, where she has been an assistant principal since the school opened last year.

She replaces Jennifer Wood, who moved to the central office as the director of secondary education.

Carter also was assistant principal at County Line Elementary and was an instructional coach at Yargo Elementary for three years. She started her career teaching in Gwinnett County.

She is a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School and a native of Barrow County.

Carter received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from North Georgia College and State University, before it merged and became the University of North Georgia. She earned a master’s degree in elementary math and a doctorate in teacher leadership, both from Walden University. She also was in the Barrow County Rising Stars program and the leadership program of the Northeast Georgia RESA.

Bear Creek has about 700 students, near the enrollment at Winder Elementary. Carter noted the school is “at the top” in test scores among county schools and one challenge is maintaining that. Carter said she was “incredibly excited” about the new job.

She said Winder Elementary and Russell Middle had collaborated on projects. She said she already had emailed Shawn Williams, principal at Statham Elementary about exchanging ideas.

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