Ivy Smith, PrincipalIvy Smith, Principal

Being a life-long learner is at the core of my educational beliefs. Valdosta State University has been instrumental in my quest to be a better teacher. After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree and Masters’ Degree in Middle Grades Education specializing in mathematics, I earned an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership in 2009. Along with formal education, I have had many professional development opportunities including “Lowndes County Aspiring Leaders” program which prepares future teacher-leaders by allowing them to deal with real-life issues and shadowing established, successful leaders of education. I attended the 2009 Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement training, which focused on the high school dropout rate and the importance and relevance of all school levels. As a speaker at The Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference, I introduced other educators to helpful technology-based strategies appropriate for the instructional math setting. While serving on the Valdosta State University Advisory Board for the Department of Middle and Secondary Education, I provide input and review current programs of study. I enjoy demonstrating effective teaching strategies, and classroom discipline techniques while assisting with the development of lesson plans, time management, and organizational practices. I was honored to be selected by my colleagues as Pine Grove Middle’s Teacher of the Year in 2010, later named the Lowndes County Teacher of Year and Top 10 Teacher Finalists for the State of Georgia. I participated in the Assistant Principal's as well as Principal's Leadership Academy sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and enjoyed learning from others across the state. These activities and honors demonstrate my commitment to always strive to do my best for Georgia’s future.

During the 2013 school year, I began serving as the assistant principal at Pine Grove Middle School. In January of 2015, I transitioned to the role of instructional leader/principal. With this role, I support, guide, and help make decisions for the betterment of our students, staff, and community. My educational beliefs can be summed up in the words of Rita Pierson, “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

Samuel Clemons, Jr., Assistant PrincipalSam Clemons, Jr., Assistant Principal

I feel honored to be an administrator at Pine Grove Middle School. I look forward to all the new challenges we'll face together and to all of the successes we will achieve together. I am very excited to work with such a dedicated staff, hard-working students, supportive parents, and caring community. Developing a positive and trusting relationships are very important to me. Also, safety and learning are my top priorities. My goal is to work within the school, the district and with the community to develop our students into hard-working young men and women who are ready to succeed beyond middle school. I have an open door policy and I welcome communication. I invite you to contact me with any questions or concerns anytime.

On a personal note, I am a product of the Lowndes County School System. All of my formal education was acquired from various schools within the Lowndes County School District. Additionally, I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Special Education and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership. I have been teaching at Pine Grove Middle school since 2009. In addition to teaching, I have also served as a basketball and track coach. I am married to Mrs. Tiffany Clemons and we have two daughters, Sydney and Kennedy.

Suzanne Tanner, Assistant PrincipalSuzanne Tanner, Assistant Principal

Suzanne Tanner grew up in Valdosta, Georgia. She has been an educator for more than 27 years. She was a elementary teacher for ten years (classroom teacher and Early Intervention). She served as an educational leader at three elementary schools in Lowndes County. She holds Bachelor and Master degrees in Early Childhood Education, Master and Educational Specialist degrees in Educational Administration and Leadership. She is passionate about professional learning, technology, and good teaching.

Mrs. Tanner is married to local musician Chip Tanner (founder of the local band Tannerslane and the duo The Remedy). They have a daughter who plays percussion with the Georgia Bridgemen at Lowndes High School, a miniature schnauzer, and a toy poodle. She has a brother, Arden DeLoach, who is a CPA at Taylor & DeLoach in Valdosta. In her time away from school, she loves to read on her Kindle, delve into Bible studies, take the doggies on long walks, listen to the waves crash onto the beach, and learn exciting ways to use technology.

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