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Gary Rivers leaves Nichols-Lawson to become Sylacauga High School principal


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga Board of Education has appointed Mr. Gary Rivers as principal of Sylacauga High School (SHS) beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

The announcement was made following the resignation of current principal Matt Hodge.

Rivers began his teaching career at SHS in 2000 where he taught special education for three years and was the Special Education Transition Coordinator for one year before being promoted to assistant principal at Nichols-Lawson Middle School (NLMS). He served in this role for six years and in 2010 was named principal of Pinecrest Elementary where he served for six years.

In 2016, Rivers was named principal of NLMS and has worked in this position for six years until accepting this new role.

“Gary Rivers has proven to be a great leader in every area of school administration in which he has worked,” said Sylacauga City Schools superintendent Dr. Michele Eller. “From starting out his career as a high school special education teacher and then working in administration at the elementary and middle school levels, Mr. Rivers has had a wide range of experiences that have improved the school environment at all levels.”

Under Rivers’ leadership, noteworthy achievements at NLMS and Pinecrest include developing a school-wide plan to decrease school office discipline referrals and increase student attendance as well as developing a master schedule to promote rigor in academic programs.

Rivers earned an associate’s degree from Gadsden State Community College and attended New Orleans Theological Seminary. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Jacksonville State University, and later completed his master’s in Special Education, School Administration, and Educational Specialist degree in School Administration.

“His energy and thoroughness will be a great asset to excellence at Sylacauga High,” Dr. Eller said.

An announcement regarding the direction of the new administration at NLMS will be made at a later date.

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