Mr. Keith Ball  –  Dr. Amanda Ruiz  –  Dr. Dan Snipes  –  Mrs. Lyn Turnell  –  Mr. Bob Van Alstyne

Mr. Keith L. Ball, Principal

Born and raised in New York, Mr. Keith L. Ball is a principal with a variety of experiences, excellent training, and an enthusiastic attitude towards life and education.  Mr. Ball received his Bachelor of Arts with honors from the State University of New York at Albany in Secondary Social Studies Education.  While an undergraduate at Albany, Mr. Ball lettered in both baseball and football and received the university’s highest undergraduate honor of Outstanding Senior for his contributions to the university, academic achievements, service, and athletic endeavors.  Mr. Ball continued his education at University at Albany going on to earn his master’s degree with honors in Advanced Classroom Training in Social Sciences.  While earning his master’s degree, Mr. Ball worked as an academic advisor for undergraduate students and was an assistant football coach during the university’s run towards their first Division II conference title in 1997.  In 2004, Mr. Ball earned his Educational Specialist with honors in Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee.
In 1998, Mr. Ball moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to teach and coach at the brand new Ridgeview High School in Orange Park.  There he was runner-up for Teacher of the Year in addition to coaching football, girls’ basketball, and track. In 2000, he moved to the Atlanta area where he worked at Pope High School in Cobb County.  While at Pope, Mr. Ball was nominated for Teacher of the Year, coached baseball, and helped guide the Greyhounds to the 2000 5A region championship in football and the 2001 & 2002 region 5A playoffs in baseball.  Mr. Ball continued his teaching and coaching career in Cobb County at Kell High School, serving as the interim department head for social studies, was a finalist for Teacher of the Year, and coached both football and baseball.  In 2004 Mr. Ball received Kell High School’s Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award for his character, compassion, involvement, generosity, and staff leadership.
Cherokee High School was his home for three years (2004-2007) where he served as the assistant principal in charge of curriculum and student affairs.  In addition to his duties as an assistant principal, Mr. Ball also authored and taught a leadership class.  In his first year at CHS, Mr. Ball was recognized by Cherokee High School’s 2005 Valedictorian to represent CHS at Cherokee County’s Scholars Banquet.  Also in 2005, he was selected to serve as Cherokee County’s Middle School Summer School Administrator.  In 2007, Mr. Ball received the Student Leadership Award at Cherokee High School for his contributions to the students of CHS and the Student Government Association (SGA).  While working with both CHS Principals Bill Sebring and Pam Biser, Mr. Ball helped to significantly increase Cherokee High School’s graduation test scores, end-of-course-tests scores, and graduation rate.  He was also instrumental in expanding Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings.  After two consecutive years of being placed on the Needs Improvement list for not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), CHS made AYP each of the years he worked as curriculum supervisor.  In 2006 & 2007 Mr. Ball was selected and successfully completed the Superintendent’s Leadership Academy in preparation for the Principalship.

For three years (2007-2010), Mr. Ball served as the Principal of Woodstock Middle School (WMS).  WMS experienced unprecedented success during Mr. Ball’s tenure.  In 2009, WMS earned the GOSA/DOE Platinum Award for greatest gains in student achievement.  WMS outperformed all but one middle school in the state and was recognized for their success with a visit by the State Superintendent, Kathy Cox; CCSD Board Members; and Dr. Petruzielo, CCSD Superintendent.

Student attendance in 2008 was the highest in WMS history until 2009, when it was again brought to a new all-time high of 96.5%.  Under Mr. Ball’s leadership, WMS successfully integrated their first ever 6th grade class during the 2009-2010 school year, making WMS a 6th-8th model after serving only 7th and 8th graders since it’s opening in 1996.  Over the course of three years, the WMS staff grew to 100% LFS trained, over 75% Gifted Certified, 56% enrolled and/or successfully completed the CCSD Teach 21 technology endorsement, and over 60% of the staff having advanced degrees. Mr. Ball credits the staff, parents, and students for all of Woodstock Middle School’s success.
Mr. Ball goes into his seventh year as Etowah’s Principal with high expectations and a state and national reputation of excellence to uphold.  Etowah was featured in the January 2011 and January 2012 Atlanta Magazine as a “Top 25 High School” in the metro area.  For the past six consecutive years (2011, ‘12, ’13, ’14, ’15, ‘16) Etowah has been named to The High School Challenge list by the Washington Post, averaging a top 10% ranking nationally.  Etowah was also named to the Newsweek 2013 Best High Schools in America list and is in the running to earn that recognition in 2016.  Additionally in 2014, and 2016, Etowah earned silver honors being named to US News & World Report’s list of best schools in the country.  Mr. Ball considers these honors by-products of having the best staff, motivated students, and tremendous parent support and involvement. Mr. Ball’s creative and comprehensive Operation Graduation initiative and a laser focus on improving the graduation rate has paid off as Etowah was the only high school in Cherokee County to improve the 2012 4-year cohort graduation rate.  In fact, the graduation rate at EHS during Mr. Ball’s tenure, including the most recent in 2015 (89.456%) is well over the state and nation averages and amongst the highest in Cherokee County.  High graduation rates complimented Etowah earning the highest 2015 College & Career Readiness Performance Index score in the district (88 CCRPI Score).  SAT and ACT scores at Etowah have ranked first or second in Cherokee County since Mr. Ball became Principal in 2010, which compliments some of the highest scores on Advanced Placement (AP) exams in the state of Georgia—including being ranked 7th in the state in 2014.  Under Mr. Ball’s leadership, Etowah High School has administered the most AP exams (over 3,000) of any Cherokee County School since 2011. Even though Cherokee County continues to face unprecedented state budget cuts along with ever increasing mandates from all levels, Mr. Ball firmly believes that Etowah High School can continue compete at the state and national level in academics, athletics, arts, and service.  To that end, Mr. Ball has aggressively expanded the Advanced Placement (AP) Program to include 23 different courses—an increase of 10 classes since 2010.  Additionally, Mr. Ball created and successfully executed the 5th annual summer BRIDGE Program to provide rising 9th graders with academic acceleration facilitated by Etowah teachers prior to their entry in the fall. Students who have completed the BRIDGE Program have performed better in their core courses and have stayed on-track to graduate in four years. Another example of Mr. Ball’s visionary leadership is the unique AP Summer Boot Camp venture only offered at Etowah during the summers of 2013,’14,‘15 to accelerate Etowah’s top students in a variety of Advanced Placement courses.  Overall success at Etowah is evident in the over $28 million in scholarships that students have earned over the past 6 years.

This scholarship success is highlighted by Etowah student-athletes who signed more athletic scholarships than any other high school in CCSD six years in-a-row. Etowah had its first ever back-to-back-to-back team state championships in weightlifting (2011, ’12, ’13) and the school’s first ever Academic Team State Championship in 2013 including being ranked in the top 20 nationally. 2014-15 saw three teams make it to the State Semi-Finals in boys lacrosse, ladies tennis, and football.  Additionally, the wrestling team competed in the state finals for the first time in school history after winning back-to-back region championships.  In 2015-16 Etowah again made history earning its highest state ranking of 5th in the state with 14 out of 20 teams making it to the state playoffs including girls’ volleyball and boys’ lacrosse competing in the state semi-finals and girls’ tennis playing for a state championship. Athletic facilities continue to improve as EHS stakeholders have partnered with Mr. Ball to rebuild the baseball facilities and install one of the best all-digital, stadium score boards in the state of Georgia! This capital outlay project comes on the heels of paying off the over $1 million stadium sprint turf.  Additionally, a new stadium lighting system has been installed replacing the original system from 1976.  The improvements to the athletic facilities compliment the comprehensive campus upgrades that have occurred during Mr. Ball’s tenure including the grounds, the Coffee Shop/Senior Lounge, and the revitalized of Etowah East @ Chapman.  This redesigned addition of two buildings eliminated the need to utilize mobile classrooms and provide the most advanced technology to all Etowah students including a World Language Lab and Writing Across the Curriculum Center (W.A.C.C.).  Etowah is also be the first high school in Cherokee County to have an on-sight Robotics lab to support the new course and Robotics Club.

Mr. Ball’s vision for a top-notch school includes students who selflessly and consistently give to others.  Service to others is not just an expectation at Etowah, it is part of the DNA and school’s culture.  Over the last six years Etowah students have completed over 160,000 hours of documented service to their school and community!  Mr. Ball has led the service campaign in working with the Etowah Zone, district, and school PTA officers to raise funds and play in a charity basketball game.  As a result, Etowah earned Kindles to be used by its students and the local fire houses were given encrypted GPS devices to minimize response times to emergencies.  Etowah also led the charge to earn awareness and money for ALS and the Eagles continue to support Relay for Life donating over $25,000 to cancer research over the past six years.

Mr. Ball’s ultimate goal is for Etowah to be the most future friendly school in the state by preparing all graduates to learn, earn, and serve as productive community and global citizens.  To that end, Etowah will continue its aggressive Bring A Learning Device (B.A.L.D) technology initiative.  Additionally, many teachers will continue to “flip” their classrooms using technology to better serve all students.  Teaching digitally responsible citizens is part of Etowah’s larger vision and one that is required of a true, 21st century school.

Mr. Ball looks forward to the challenges the 2016-17 school year will bring—including continuing to lead the largest campus and second highest student enrollment in Cherokee County.  Executing Etowah’s mission of graduating life-long learners and productive community and global citizens through progressive and creative programs will continue to ensure EHS has the highest graduation rate in the district and the school’s state and national reputation of being a sustainable and innovative leader in public education remains one of the best in the country.

Dr. Amanda Ruiz

Originally from Warner Robins, Georgia, Dr. Ruiz attended the University of Georgia, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary English Education (1999). She continued at Georgia State University earning both Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership (2007) and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Teaching and Learning with a focus in Reading, Language and Literacy (2011). She currently lives in Woodstock with her husband, Ludvin and her children Nathan, Katherine and Alexandra.

Across her career as an educator, Dr. Ruiz has taught high school English Literature and English to Speakers of Other Languages in metro area. She has served as a volunteer educator in various community programs and has consistently held various leadership roles within her school community. Along with designing and implementing professional development for her peers, Dr Ruiz has worked to educate future teachers at both Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University, Dr. Ruiz has worked to educate future teachers.

Dr. Ruiz joined Cherokee County Schools in 2007. During the 2014-15 school year, Dr. Ruiz will serve as the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Etowah High School. Dr. Ruiz is skilled at collecting and communicating data to assist teachers in working more effectively with students and developing and implementing initiatives which strengthen graduation rate and school performance as a whole. She is excited about continuing to support teachers and students, and assisting them be successful in the classroom.

Dr. Dan Snipes

Dr. Snipes is a Georgia native who has served Cherokee County Schools for nine years. He served the Cherokee County School District as a Social Studies teacher from 2006-2012. During that span Dr. Snipes has served in various roles such as a Department Chair, Advanced Placement teacher, Instructional Team leader, and assistant coach in fast-pitch softball and baseball as a staff member of Cherokee High School.  As an assistant coach Dr. Snipes had the pleasure of working with a state runner-up in 2008. Dr. Snipes has served in various leadership roles as a teacher-leader prior to becoming an assistant principal.

Dr. Snipes has received his undergraduate degree from Kennesaw State University in Social Science Education in 2006. He received his Master’s Degree in 2008 and Specialist Degree in 2011 in Educational Leadership and completed his Doctorates degree in Educational Leadership in June, 2015.

Dr. Snipes has a varied background that extends into both the military and private sectors. Dr. Snipes proudly served our nation as a United States Marine. He has also spent over eight years in the private sector here in Georgia. Dr. Snipes has served in a variety of roles in these experiences including over seven years in leadership roles during his tenure in the private sector.

Dr. Snipes serves Etowah High School as the Career Technical and Agricultural Education administrator. Dr. Snipes also supervises the English department, World Language department, Teachers as Advisors, student organizations and clubs, student affairs and community interactions, and is the administrator for the Tenth Grade. Dr. Snipes office is located in building A at Etowah East and can be contacted at 770-721-5580.

Dr. Snipes is honored and excited to continue to serve the students of Etowah and the Etowah community.

Mrs. Lyn Turnell

Mrs. Turnell is pleased to return as an Assistant Principal to Etowah High School, where she previously worked briefly as a guidance counselor.  Since starting with the Cherokee County School District in 1996, she has worked in elementary, middle and high school settings in the Etowah, Cherokee and River Ridge Zones as well as in the central office and brings a wide variety of experience to this position.  For the last 4 years, she has been an Assistant Principal at Bascomb Elementary School.

Mrs. Turnell received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Emory University in Atlanta.  She has a Master’s and Educational Specialist degree in School Counseling from Georgia State University and completed an Educational Specialist add-on degree in Leadership at the University of Georgia.  Currently, Mrs. Turnell is enrolled in the Doctoral Program at Kennesaw State University in the Educational Leadership department.

As a school counselor, she has mentored new counselors through the Cherokee County School District BEST Program and also assisted the district with the development, training & implementation of district-wide guidelines & procedures for counselors implementing school-based student mentoring programs.  She was a facilitator of the CCSD Substance Use Prevention and Education Resource (SUPER) classes that covered topics such as peer skills & attitudes, parenting skills, family communication & information about drugs for teens and their families who were mandated by the juvenile court system and/or Cherokee County School District to attend. She received her Nationally Certified School Counselor designation from the NBCC in 2000 and has provided supervision of clinical hours for other counselors seeking this certification.  Additionally, she has worked as a consultant with Georgia State University to supervise Master’s Level school counseling students in their internship courses.

Mrs. Turnell worked for 4 years as a Teacher on Special Assignment for the CCSD Office of Student Assessment.  In this capacity, she was responsible for the inventory, security, training for administration and reporting of results for several of the state and county mandated standardized assessments and for tracking assessment accommodations for Special Education and ESOL students across the county.  Mrs. Turnell frequently presented to schools, PTA programs and professional development classes on how to interpret and utilize the data available from these assessments to understand the learning needs of their students and identify areas of school improvement for AYP.

Mrs. Turnell has worked with students outside of the school district in a number of ways including providing counseling groups for court-mandated offenders in the Cherokee County Department of Juvenile Justice, educational support for women & their children through the Cherokee County Family Violence Center and serving as a teacher leader with the People to People International High School Student Ambassador Program.

Mr. Bob Van Alstyne

Mr. Van Alstyne has served the Cherokee County School District as a teacher and coach from 2003-2009 at Cherokee High School and as an Assistant Principal at Hickory Flat from 2009-2011. During his time at Cherokee High School, Mr. Van Alstyne had the pleasure of serving as the Administrator of Polaris Evening School – North Campus in the fall of 2008. This campus was closed in December of that year due to budget cuts.

Prior to his time in the Cherokee County School District, Mr. Van Alstyne was a member of the faculty at Sprayberry High School in Marietta. While there he taught Health, Physical Education, Math and Physical Science. In addition to his role in the classroom, he was a coach for Basketball, Football and Boys’ and Girls’ Golf.

Mr. Van Alstyne is originally from Oswego, New York and earned a BS in Physical Education from SUNY Brockport. After moving to Georgia, he completed a Master’s Degree in Health Studies from the University of Alabama and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Administration from Lincoln Memorial.

Upcoming Events

11:00 am Lacrosse Boys vs Father Ryan @ Home
Lacrosse Boys vs Father Ryan @ Home
Feb 25 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Varsity @ 11:00am JV @ 1:00pm
1:00 pm Gymnastics meet @ Roswell Park gym
Gymnastics meet @ Roswell Park gym
Feb 25 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
5:30 pm Soccer V vs Lassiter @ Home
Soccer V vs Lassiter @ Home
Mar 2 @ 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Boys 5:30, Girls 7:30
6:30 pm Parent University @ Auditorium
Parent University @ Auditorium
Mar 2 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
7:30 pm Youth Track Registration @ Etowah East Cafeteria
Youth Track Registration @ Etowah East Cafeteria
Mar 2 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
5:30 pm Lacrosse-Boys vs N. Paulding @ Home
Lacrosse-Boys vs N. Paulding @ Home
Mar 3 @ 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Jv @5:30, Varsity @ 7:30
5:30 pm Soccer JV @Sequoyah @ Away
Soccer JV @Sequoyah @ Away
Mar 3 @ 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Girls 5:30 Boys 7:30