GAEL Leadership & Staff
Robert “Buddy” 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. In August, 2019, he began his tenure as Executive Director of GAEL.
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 2021 graduate of the University of Georgia (she currently teaches high school science in Georgia’s public school system). His youngest, Sophie, is a proud senior at the University of North Georgia and a proud spouse of a U.S. Navy sailor serving his country in the United States Navy.