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Oconee County Middle principal named GASSP Principal of the Year

The Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) recently announced that Oconee County Middle School’s Keith Carter has been GASSP POY named Georgia’s Middle School Principal of the Year.


"Keith Carter has done an excellent job as principal of Oconee County Middle School and is incredibly deserving of being named Principal of the Year," said Superintendent Jason Branch. "He is a very strong leader with a focus on relationships, high achievement, and a positive school culture. OCMS has reached higher levels of excellence under his leadership, and his colleagues and the Board of Education join me in applauding this well-deserved achievement.”


Carter was named one of six finalists – three from the middle school level and three from the high school level – earlier this month. He is the first principal in Oconee County history to receive the honor of GASSP Principal of the Year. The criteria for selection includes professional and school excellence, as well as evidence of exemplary work in collaboration, curriculum, instruction and assessment, and personalization of the school's work to meet individual student needs. After being chosen as a finalist, Carter participated in an interview process and following that, he was chosen as the top middle school principal in the state of Georgia.


“This is an incredible honor and I am so proud of the work that we – as a team – have accomplished at Oconee County Middle School,” said Carter. “This recognition means a great deal to me professionally and personally and I am very grateful to have an opportunity to represent Oconee County Middle School, Oconee County Schools, and the State of Georgia. At OCMS, we are blessed with dedicated teachers and support staff, hard-working students, and supportive parents who have all contributed to our successes.”


Under Carter’s leadership since 2016, OCMS increased its CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index) Score from 84.1 to its current score of 92.1. CCRPI is an assessment of content mastery, progress, closing gaps, and readiness. In addition, the school has a Five-Star School Climate Rating, the highest possible. Oconee County Middle was also named one of only six Breakout Schools in the state by GASSP in 2019.


Prior to serving as principal at OCMS, Carter was the principal at Colham Ferry Elementary School, assistant principal at Malcom Bridge Elementary School, and a teacher in Clarke and Oconee counties. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University and a master’s degree from the University of Georgia. His wife, Bess, is also an educator and they are the proud parents of four school-age children.