Rhonda Gulley

Rhonda Lowe Gulley

Upson-Lee Middle School
Thomaston-Upson County Schools
Thomaston, Georgia

Rhonda Lowe Gulley builds on nearly two decades of experience as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and administrator in her role as principal of Upson-Lee Middle School, a sixth-through-eighth grade school where she has served for the past seven years. Throughout her tenure, Gulley has had an impressive impact on all aspects of school life—from culture and curriculum to the organizational structures that ensure a thriving professional community for teachers and an accessible learning environment for all students, regardless of socioeconomic background. At the forefront of Gulley’s leadership is a commitment to maintaining high standards for learning and achievement, guiding the school to beat the odds despite growing poverty. While Upson-Lee’s curriculum is standards-based, meeting the standard is only a starting point. Grounded in real-world application and higher-order thinking, the school’s curriculum promotes opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and is in constant development through a participatory PLC model. Gulley is an active mentor and relies on the power of distributed leadership to realize school improvement. For example, she successfully led a grant writing team to secure a $2.5 million, three-year Striving Readers Literacy Grant, allowing the school to draw on Comprehensive Reading Solutions to improve literacy instruction school-wide. Gulley holds an Educational Specialist degree in Leadership from Columbus State University, an M.Ed. with a focus on Instructional Technology from Troy State University, and a B.S in Middle Childhood Education from Mercer University.