GAEL Leadership & Staff

Robert Costley, GAEL Executive Director

Executive Director Robert Costley is a U.S. Navy Veteran, serving overseas in the Persian Gulf aboard the U.S.S. Ranger, an aircraft carrier. Following his military service, he attended the University of West Georgia, earning a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education. He then furthered his education with both a master’s and specialist’s degree in Education Administration from Jacksonville State University.

In his educational career, he has served as an English teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and as a Georgia school superintendent for eleven years.

Known to his friends and colleagues as “Buddy,” he is a proud advocate of public schools and what they mean for the future of Georgia and its families. He is married to Kelly, a veteran public school kindergarten teacher, and he is the father to three beautiful children, all alumni of Georgia’s public schools. In his own words, he is “proud to live in a divided house.” His oldest, Sam, is a graduate from Georgia Tech as a computer science major while his oldest daughter Mackenzi is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia (she currently teaches high school science in Georgia’s public school system). His youngest, Sophie, is a proud sophomore at the University of North Georgia.

GAEL Staff
Robert CostleyExecutive 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
Cindy FlesherProfessional Learning Coordinator
Board of Directors
Dr. Zabrina CannadyPresident
Dr. Claire Buck Past President
Valerie Suessmith President Elect
Aaron GeterTreasurer
Dr. Chad StoneGASSP President
Dr. Elizabeth BennettGASSP Member
Dr. Russell BrockGAMSP President
Dr. Dusty DykesGAMSP Member
Stephanie MorrowGAESP President
Dr. Brittney Mobley GAESP Member
Travis NesmithGACIS President
Dr. Marianne ColeGACIS Past President
Dr. Cassandra HolifieldG-CASE President
Michele Bealing-SaylesG-CASE Member
Ramon RayGASPA President
Michele ThomasGASPA Member
Paula FreerSSTAGE President
Dr. Jean WalkerGELFA 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. Claire BuckGACIS770-530-7205
Sarah BurbachG-CASE706-474-4272
Dr. John ZaunerGSSA404-413-8147
Stephanie DobbinsGASPA770-687-1299
Joan WhiteheadSSTAGE