New GHS principal, new use for Gym of ’36

Roberto Rivera will be the Principal of Gainesville High School, effective July 1. The new appointment was
announced at the Gainesville Board of Education work session Monday night after a month-long search that included interviews with the school governance council, student panel and district leadership. In addition, the board announced that it is buying the Gym of ’36 building at Washington and Academy Streets, which served as Gainesville High School in the 1930s, and will house the system’s non-traditional Horizons Academy and its Newcomers Academy.


“Mr. Rivera has been an integral piece of Gainesville High School for the last five years, and we
are excited to see him lead the school using his passion for serving kids and experience with all of
our families,” said Dr. Jeremy Williams, Superintendent, Gainesville City Schools. “Our search
became clear when we witnessed the overwhelming support from the school governance council,
staff, and students. He will take the mantle from Mr. Green and continue to build on our successes
as a school and community.” Mr. Rivera will transition to this new role on July 1, 2024.

Mr. Rivera is currently serving as the Freshman Administrator leading the 9th Grade Hall. He has
been an administrator serving Gainesville High School since 2019 while also serving as the Varsity
Wrestling Coach.

Mr. Rivera has led in high school administration for 9 years first at Marietta High School followed
by his role at North Paulding High School where he was also the Athletic Director. In his early
career in education he was a Spanish teacher for 17 years. “Mr. Rivera will continue the incredible
school culture that we are experiencing now at Gainesville High,” said Jamie Green, current
Gainesville High School Principal. “He will bring the structure needed for a school of our size
while also maintaining relationships with students and staff that make everyone feel at home.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Green announced several weeks ago he was resigning, and his family will move to his wife’s native Brazil.)


“The Gainesville City School System announces that it has selected what was once the site of Gainesville High School in the 1930s – commonly known as the Gym of ‘36 – and the previous HOMESTAR Financial Services building, as its new home for its Horizon Academy and Newcomers Academy.

“When Horizon Academy kicked off as a program this year under our charter system priorities, we began looking for its home. The 332 Washington Street property has historical ties to Gainesville City Schools and it also serves as a geographic solution for Horizon Academy,” said Dr. Jeremy Williams, Superintendent, Gainesville City Schools.

“Mr. Hunt has done an amazing job over the last decade improving the quality of the building
and having it near-ready for our transition. Having served more than 225 students this year, we
look forward to providing a flexible, non-traditional graduation solution for our students.” The
school system is purchasing the building from Wes Hunt for $10,600,000 with closing
occurring on Tuesday. ESPLOST VI excess receipts will be used to pay off the bond over 10

The location will not only serve as the location of the new charter school but will also house
academic and student support services personnel on the first floor.

“We are excited to be reclaiming this historical location that even has the original wood gym floors on the second floor,” said Andy Stewart Gainesville City School Board of Education Chairman. “Welcoming our newcomers in an environment where our district leadership is also located and in a space that is uniquely oriented to the needs of this new concept makes it the perfect fit.”

Horizon Academy in a non-traditional high school encompassing the Grad Lab, designed to
provide credit recovery and initial course credit through innovative and flexible scheduling that
will motivate and encourage students to graduate as a part of their cohort in Gainesville City
Schools, and the Newcomer Academy. The Newcomer Academy is an innovative and flexible
program tailored specifically for newcomers to the United States. This pioneering initiative has
been thoughtfully designed to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment, offering a smooth
transition for high school students navigating the challenges of settling into a new country.
Through a combination of comprehensive language support, cultural orientation, and practical life
skills training, newcomers will be equipped with the tools they need to thrive and contribute to
their new communities.”