Gaines Named Next Hand-In-Hand Principal

On the playground is Dee Gaines (center) surrounded by kindergarten students Xalen James, from left, Sam Stewart, Destiny Hobbs, Rosie Cooper, and Blake Knisely.

Hand-In-Hand Primary School Assistant Principal Dee Gaines has been appointed principal designee to assume the role effective October 1, following Jeanna Mayhall’s retirement.  The Thomas County Board of Education approved the appointment at its meeting on September 12.

Originally from Ochlocknee, Gaines is a graduate of Thomas County Central High School (TCCHS).  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Georgia, and graduated from Valdosta State University with both Masters and Specialist degrees.

Gaines brings a wealth of experience to the Thomas County School System. Working in the system since 2000, she has served as a special education teacher, speech language pathologist, parent involvement coordinator, special education coordinator, and assistant principal. 

Gaines said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to serve the children and families of Thomas County! Hand-In-Hand Primary is a very special school filled with outstanding teachers and staff, and the children are precious to me.”

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to work for a school system who values the importance of a fair and equal education for all students. I am honored to work with some of the best educators in our state to provide the highest quality education to all of our students. I feel confident that we will continue to build on the strong foundation laid by my predecessors, Sheila Bullington and Jeanna Mayhall.”

Current Hand-In-Hand Principal Jeanna Mayhall believes the Board of Education could not have made a better choice in naming Gaines principal.

“Dee has served in multiple capacities during her career with the Thomas County Schools giving her a wide array of experiences,” Mayhall said. “These experiences have helped prepare her for the next step in her career. She began her career right here at Hand-In-Hand as a speech and language pathologist.”

Mayhall added, “Dee has deep roots in our system and in our school which started from such humble beginnings. She is an excellent choice for Hand-In-Hand.”

In announcing Gaines’ appointment, Thomas County Superintendent Dusty Kornegay said, “There is no more important qualification for being a successful school leader than loving children.  Dee loves children, and it shows in everything that she says and does.  I was privileged to have Dee as a student when I was teaching at TCCHS, and I have enjoyed watching her grow up and build a highly successful career.  She is smart, she is hard-working, and she is genuine through and through. Hand-In-Hand will flourish under her leadership.”

Gaines’ husband, Reid, is owner of M. Reid Gaines Land Surveying. They have two sons, Marx, who is a sixth grader at Thomas County Middle School, and Graham, who is in first grade at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary. Gaines is a member of First Baptist Church and enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and friends.

Hand-In-Hand is the area’s leading primary school that holds the highest quality rating by Bright from the Start: Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Hand-In-Hand is the only public program to receive the three-star quality rating in the Thomasville/Thomas County area.   

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