School Board Announces New Leadership at Granite Falls Elementary, Lower Creek Elementary and Gamewell Middle

LENOR, NC (June 4, 2024) ⇒ At today’s meeting of the Caldwell County Board of Education, the School Board unanimously approved three administrative recommendations by Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps.

The following administrators have been assigned as principals at these schools:

Brook Cooper, principal of Lower Creek Elementary School, has been selected as the new principal of Granite Falls Elementary School. Prior to tenure at Lower Creek Elementary School beginning in 2021, Cooper served as an assistant principal at West Caldwell High School and Dudley Shoals Elementary and was a NC Principal Fellow at Appalachian State University from 2016 to 2018. She began her career as a middle school math/science teacher. Cooper holds a Bachelor’s degree from Lees McRae College and a Master’s in School Administration from Appalachian State University. She was awarded the First Year Teacher of the Year in 2009, District Teacher Leader, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2016, and the 2020 Caldwell County Schools Assistant Principal of the Year.

Celine Ellison, the current assistant principal at William Lenoir Middle School, has been named principal of Lower Creek Elementary School. Ellison’s administrative career began in 2021. Before stepping into administration, she was a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Hudson Middle School for seven years in addition to teaching at East Burke Middle School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from University of NC at Asheville as a NC Teaching Fellow, followed by a Master’s degree from Appalachian State University, and a Post Master Certificate in School Leadership from Western Carolina University. Ellison has been a distinguished National Board Certified teacher since 2011.

Courtney Saunders, currently the principal at Granite Falls Elementary School, will become the new principal at Gamewell Middle School. She has been principal and assistant principal at Granite Falls Elementary since 2019. Before her administrative roles, she was a teacher and instructional assistant at Davenport A+ School. Saunders was named Assistant Principal of the Year in 2022. She completed a Bachelor’s degree at Appalachian State University and a Master of Arts/Executive Leadership Studies at Gardner-Webb University.

The School Board welcomed each principal into their new role with a vote of confidence and praised their abilities and outstanding attributes.

About Caldwell County Schools:
Caldwell County Schools is a leading educational institution serving students in grades PreK-13 and dedicated to providing exceptional learning experiences. Committed to innovation, inclusivity, and academic excellence, the district serves as a cornerstone of the community’s educational growth and advancement with more than 1,800 employees. For more information, visit