With the Oak Mountain Academy Board of Trustees having appointed her successor, current head of school Paula Gillispie is preparing to leave — and it is bittersweet.
“My friend, who is also a retiring head, gave the perfect analogy for how this feels,” Gillispie said. “It feels like walking your son down the aisle. You know he is going to be OK and you met the person he is with, and you like them, but yet it is still hard to let go.”
Gillispie last year announced her plans to retire. She’ll leave after 45 years in education — the last eight as head of school at Oak Mountain. The school’s enrollment has increased by 26 percent during her time at OMA.
Patrick Yuran has been named as her successor.
“Yuran has what it takes to continue the legacy here at Oak Mountain Academy,” Gillispie said. “Not only does he have Carrollton roots but he has an energy I believe we need at the academy.”
Gillispie said the Head of Search Committee did an outstanding job with selecting Yuran from 25 applicants. When selecting the new head, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted for Yuran, who has 20 years of experience. He is currently head of school at Monsignor Donovan Catholic High School in Athens, Georgia.
Yuran will begin his role as head of school on July 15 of this year, which also will be the beginning of Oak Mountain Academy’s 56th year.
“My advice that I could give Mr. Yuran when he comes to the academy is to look, listen and learn the culture,” Gillispie said. “We always say to not change everything your first time here, but to learn and get to know everyone.”
Gillispie said they the academy is in a perfect position to be handed over at this time and that she feels confident that Yuran will help the school continue to succeed.
“He will have to acclimate himself again to Carroll County,” said Gillispie. “But honestly, with this community, he will be welcomed with open arms. I will miss the drive that this community has to help others and I see Carroll County as the one who sets the stage for the rest of the state of Georgia. I will miss it.”