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Bulloch County Schools News

Mike Yawn and Krista Branch

Yawn to retire after 29 years in education

Brooklet assistant principal to serve as interim

After 29 years in education, Mike Yawn, an administrator and educator in the Bulloch County school district, has announced his retirement at the end of the school year.

"I just hope I had a positive impact on the individuals I coached, my students, and those I had the privilege of working alongside.," Yawn said when asked about the legacy he hoped to leave. "I hope that they all know how much I enjoy being an educator."

Mike Yawn, a native of Bulloch County, is principal of Brooklet Elementary School, where he's served since 2017. He began his career as a mathematics teacher in Burke County for one year before returning to his alma mater, Statesboro High School (Class of '90), to teach math for nine years and advance into leadership as one of its assistant principals for three years. 

Krista Branch, an assistant principal at Brooklet Elementary, will serve as the school's interim principal beginning July 1. The district plans to name a new principal for the school by January 1. Branch expressed that BES is a school of excellence, and that it is her goal to continue a collaborative environment where individual needs of students are a top priority. 

In addition to leading Brooklet, in 2008, Yawn became the principal of Statesboro High's feeder middle school, William James, where he served for nine years before transferring to BES.

Yawn is a double Eagle, obtaining both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgia Southern University in secondary math education. He went on to receive his specialist degree in leadership from Argosy University. 

"When I left high school, I had a scholarship from GulfStream to study engineering," Yawn recalled. "But when it was time to transfer away from Statesboro, I decided to stay at home.  As I was searching for my next steps, two of the most influential educators in my life, my mother (Lynda Yawn) and Ms. Penny Sikes basically said to me 'why are you running from where you know you need to be?' I knew they were right. Teaching and coaching was where I was called to serve."

Yawn now jokingly calls himself a "free agent." He is excited to explore his next steps professionally and spend some quality time with his wife, Kathy, and his children, Will, Drew, and Kate, along with other family and friends.

"I'm going to miss the people," Yawn said.  "I am so lucky to have had them in my life, and I cherish the relationships we have developed. I hope all the people I came in contact with felt valued and supported and knew that I was authentic in every interaction. I hope my legacy is one of service, love, and support, and I hope they can say we had some fun along the way as well."

Yawn and all of the school district's 40 retirees for 2023-2024, will be recognized during a special invitation-only banquet on May 6, at Sallie Zetterower Elementary School. This year's retirees have 699 years of combined service to the community and its children.

Krista Branch

Branch is no stranger to Brooklet Elementary School,  She joined the BES community in 2008 as a parent and was an active member of its parent teacher organization for five years, including serving as its president for two years. Each of her three daughters have attended the school.

In 2011, Branch joined the school's faculty as a long-term substitute for its gifted class, QUEST. In 2013, she began her 11-year career with Bulloch County Schools when she became a fifth-grade teacher at the school. Her peers selected her as Brooklet's teacher of the year for the 2015-2016 school year. For the past five years, she has served as one of the school's assistant principals. She also previously served with Evans County Schools.

She has a bachelor's degree in middle grades education and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Georgia Southern University. She obtained her specialist degree in educational leadership from Georgia College and State University. 

"BES has been and will continue to be a source of joy for me," Branch said. "I am both humbled and excited to serve as interim principal at the school I love so dearly. BES has been my community, my home, for 16 years. From parent, to substitute, to teacher, to administrator, I have had the opportunity to gain different perspectives. I believe my personal and professional experiences will be an asset."