GAEL Leadership & Staff

Cindy Flesher, GAEL Interim Executive Director

Cindy has an extensive history of service and passion for the GAEL organization. She is a GAEL Past President and has served as the GAEL Professional Learning Coordinator since 2020. On January 1, 2024, she began her tenure as GAEL Interim Executive Director until the GAEL Board of Directors appoints a permanent replacement for the position of Executive Director.

Cindy graduated from Georgia College with a bachelor’s degree, Georgia Southern University with a master’s degree, and Georgia College with a specialist degree, all in the area of early childhood education. She also completed a leadership add-on to the specialist degree.

She began her teaching career in Effingham County and later taught at Southside Elementary in her hometown of Milledgeville for three years. Houston County has been her home for the past 28 years where she taught Kindergarten at Morningside Elementary and first grade at Centerville Elementary. While teaching at Morningside Elementary, she was recognized as Teacher of the Year for the school and as a finalist for the system.

She also served as Centerville Elementary’s principal and assistant principal for instruction. Cindy retired from the Houston County School district in 2021 as the Deputy Superintendent. Other roles she served in at the central office are as the Assistant Superintendent for School Operations and Executive Director of Elementary Operations.

Since her retirement, Cindy has been proudly serving as the Professional Learning Coordinator for the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL). GAEL has a special place in her heart as she has been an active member for 20+years and served as the 2013-2014 GAEL President. Prior to being President, she also held the offices of President-Elect and Treasurer of GAEL.

Married to Jay Flesher of Flint Energies, the couple has one daughter, Macie. In her spare time, Flesher likes to read, travel and spend time with family and friends.

GAEL Staff
Cindy FlesherInterim Executive Director706-250-4803
Dusty SmithChief Operating Officer706-250-4802
Ginny SmithFinancial Coordinator706-250-4801
Ivy Young Member Engagement Coordinator706-250-4806
Becky DoveAdministrative Assistant706-250-4800
Hal BeaverDirector, School Improvement (PT)706-250-4805
John TippinsCollections Support (PT)706-250-4817
Don SplinterAdministrative Support (PT)
Dr. Jimmy StokesGAEL Discipline Institute770-601-3798
Robert "Buddy" CostleyGAEL Policy Advocate
Wanda LawConference Services Coordinator
Kerensa Wing Co-Director and Team Leader of the GAEL Coaching Services
Dr. Rickey Edmond Co-Director and Team Leader of the GAEL Coaching Services
Rodney KayGAEL Government and Policy Liaison
Board of Directors
Valerie Suessmith President
Dr. Zabrina CannadyPast President
Dr. Aaron GeterPresident Elect
GASSP RepresentativeTreasurer
Kevin GainesGASSP President
Dr. Josh LoweGASSP Member
Dr. Dusty DykesGAMSP President
Jeannette HallamGAMSP Member
Diane BressonGAESP President
Dr. Brittney Mobley GAESP Member
Dr. LaShonda FlandersGACIS President
Travis NesmithGACIS Past President
Michele Sayles HarrisG-CASE President
Dr. Brad BowlingG-CASE Member
Michele ThomasGASPA President
Phillip TrembleGASPA Member
Dr. Kacia ThompsonSSTAGE President
Dr. Nick SauersGELFA President
Tiffany TaylorGaDOE Representative
Richard Smith RESA Representative
Jason BranchGSSA President
Dr. Mark ScottGSSA Member
GAEL Affiliate and Associate Executive Directors
Alan LongGASSP
Melanie SiglerGAMSP706 202-7606
Hal BeaverGAESP706-250-4805
Dr. Jolie HardinGAESP(478) 952-2488
Dr. Claire BuckGACIS770-530-7205
Sarah BurbachG-CASE706-474-4272
Dr. John ZaunerGSSA404-413-8147
Stephanie DobbinsGASPA678-544-0221
Joan WhiteheadSSTAGE