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. Claire Buck President
Dr. Richard BazemorePast President
Dr. Zabrina CannadyPresident Elect
Valerie Suessmith Treasurer
Kerensa Wing GASSP President
Dr. Chad Stone GASSP Member
Rhonda GulleyGAMSP President
Dr. Russell BrockGAMSP Member
Brian KeeferGAESP President
Dr. Brittney Mobley GAESP Member
Dr. April AldridgeGACIS President
Dr. Alicia McCartneyGACIS Past President
Dr. Tris GillandG-CASE President
Dr. Cassandra HolifieldG-CASE Member
Brad Brown GASPA President
Ramon Ray GASPA Member
Dr. Scott McManus SSTAGE President
Dr. Juliann Sergi McBrayerGELFA President
Dr. Caitlin DooleyGaDOE Representative
Richard Smith RESA Representative
Dr. Robert Brown GSSA President
Dr. Mark ScottGSSA Member
GAEL Affiliate and Associate Executive Directors
Alan LongGASSP
Dr. Bob HeaberlinGAMSP706-250-4805
Hal BeaverGAESP706-250-4805
Deborah WhiteGACIS706-250-4804
Sarah BurbachG-CASE706-474-4272
Dr. John ZaunerGSSA404-413-8147
Wilma WidmerGASPA770-687-1299
Joan WhiteheadSSTAGE