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Hightower Academy principal retiring
Hightower Principal mug
Tony Guisasola has been named to the Georgia DDS Board of Directors.

Tony Guisasola, principal of High Tower Academy for nine years, will be retiring as of June 1.

Matthew Wark, currently assistant principal of Black's Mill Elementary, will transfer into the vacant position this summer. The Dawson County Board of Education voted and approved the transfer at its March meeting.

Guisasola, 56, who has served public school systems for 30 years, is looking forward to living life at a slower pace with his family and friends in retirement.

"I have a small farm I am going to work on. That's my first goal," Guisasola said.

However, Guisasola also said he is sad to leave.

While principal he watched Hightower Academy, once known as Crossroads, grow and develop from an alternative school primarily linked to disciplinary action to a school known for credit recovery and accelerated graduation tracks.

"I have a lot of memories in this school system," Guisasola said. "Even though I worked in other school systems I really feel like, with Dawson County, I've been blessed to work in the best system in Georgia.

"It's that feeling of people who really care for kids working together toward a greater good," he said.

While overseeing Hightower Academy, Guisasola sought to instill a learning environment that enforced professional etiquette.

He said he aims to prepare students for the work force and possibly college.

"The main thing I try to do is teach [students] to make good choices. I also teach them that they have to work hard to get somewhere," he said.

Wark, 33, said he appreciates Guisasola's structured program and plans to continue on the same path.

"It's a wonderful program. I am very excited to accept this new position," he said.

Wark has served the school system for four years, handling educational issues such as discipline, curriculum and instructional supervision. He has also trained teachers and administrators regarding behavioral interventions.

"I look forward to helping students be better prepared to be great members of the community," Wark said. "At Hightower I am also looking forward to establishing relationships with student's parents."

Guisasola is excited for Wark to begin the position.

"Wark is one of the people in the Dawson County School System that has a tremendous work ethic. He has a great personality and gets along with kids. He also has a lot of great experience that's going to help," he said.