By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published June 3, 2004
In 1972, armed with a degree in sociology from Georgia Southern College, George “Scotty” Paul was still unsure of what to do with his life.
So he decided to join the U.S. Army for a few years to hopefully discern his future.
Twenty years later Paul found his answer. After living and serving in exotic locales like Bahrain, Turkey and Germany, Paul found his calling to work in education.
Paul, 54, has been named the new principal at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fairburn, effective July 1.
After retiring from the Army in 1992, Paul immediately set out on his new mission—becoming an educator. Paul said that his Army experience, much of which consisted of training and administration, further increased his passion for education.
“I like making a positive difference in the lives of young folks,” he said. “I have enjoyed and experienced different cultures and ideas and I think it’s made me a more broad-minded person. I love having the chance to impart that to young people.”
The Savannah-native went on to earn his master’s degree in government from Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., his teaching certification from Armstrong-Atlantic State University in his hometown, and later his doctorate in education from Georgia Southern University.
He first taught various social studies classes at Savannah High School and then went on to serve as the assistant principal of William James Middle School in Statesboro. When he heard of an opportunity to serve at a Catholic school in Pittsburgh, the cradle Catholic couldn’t let it pass, and began his role as the assistant principal for student affairs, where he has served for the past five years.
Paul believes strongly in the benefits of Catholic education and is excited to assume the role of principal at Our Lady of Mercy.
“To be able to express my faith is so important to me,” he said. “Teaching in a public high school…in certain ways you have to make sure not to offend anyone. And to instill character education in kids when you don’t know their background and have to take a neutral stance, it’s somehow hollow. You have the shell, but there is no inner strength.”
But serving in a Catholic school, “we have the moral core to build upon not only our knowledge but our faith.”
Mercy’s class of 2004 had fewer than 50 seniors, and one of Paul’s top priorities will be to increase enrollment, he said. He brings with him his experience and his beliefs as well as strong leadership qualities.
“I believe very strongly and passionately in what I believe—everything we do is for God’s glory,” he said.
Paul is also happy to be returning to the state of his birth, as is his mother, who lives about four hours away in Savannah. But he is most looking forward to jumping into Our Lady of Mercy with both feet.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to get involved in a school with such a great future, that has great teachers and students,” he said. “I hope to have a lot of fun, because if you’re not having fun doing something, there is no sense in doing it. If you’re not happy, if you’re not enjoying yourself, others won’t either. I enjoy education and I’m really happy with my choice.”
Paul and his wife, Joan, a native of Dublin, Ireland, have two children, Dorian and Fionnuala.