|Nile Yates||Assistant Principal|
|Christian Kemp||Support Services Administrator|
|Sarah Gardner||Instructional Support Specialist|
Karen Carstens was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and remembers back to the time when Universal Studios was just a giant cow pasture on the way to Disney. She had interesting summer jobs at both Sea World and Epcot before heading off to Florida State University. In Tallahassee, she became a life-long Seminoles sports fan, met her husband, and performed with the Florida State Flying High Circus. Her favorite acts were double trapeze, hand-balancing, sky pole, and flying trapeze.
After graduation, she taught English in a high school in rural Japan as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Not only did she climb Mount Fuji twice, but she discovered her love for teaching and connecting with students and families. Upon returning to Orlando, she completed a second Bachelor's degree at the University of Central Florida in Elementary Education. She has also completed School Leadership degrees at the Master’s level at Kennesaw State University and the Specialist’s level at Berry College.
Professionally, Mrs. Carstens won the Disney Teacherrific Award for Elementary Programs twice and was recognized as a Teacher of the Year in Orange County, Florida. Hearing of the strength of Cobb County Schools, her family moved from Orlando to East Cobb in 2005. She began as a teacher at Shallowford Falls Elementary and also served as an Assistant Principal at both Sope Creek and Powers Ferry. She has given presentations at the national level while teaching in Japan and was a frequent speaker at educational trainings in both Florida and Georgia. She is passionate about creating an instructional program that provides students with every opportunity for their future success. This not only involves rigorous application of learning standards, but also opportunities to engage in problem-based learning inside STEAM curriculum.
Away from school, you will usually find her enjoying the outside in some way. She loves to kayak, mountain bike, and hike in the North Georgia Mountains. She also loves to travel and spend time immersed in different cultures. She has taken an elephant safari in Nepal, survived a terrifying taxi ride in Bangkok, sipped Viennese coffee inside the Gloriette at Schonbrunn Palace, and even went skiing above the Arctic Circle in Finland. She is so proud that both her children (Taylor - Accounting & Erik - Civil Engineering) graduated college are now working within their field of study. She met her husband, Scott, while they both performed in the Florida State University's Flying High Circus and celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in January.
Nile Yates began her career in education over 20 years ago when she was a 3rd grade teacher and served as Dean of Instruction of an elementary school in Texas. In 2005, her family relocated to Georgia, and she taught 7th grade at Hightower Trail Middle School. After 2 years she was promoted to Assistant Principal at King Springs Elementary, followed by serving as Assistant Principal of Big Shanty Intermediate for 7 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from East Texas State University and a Master’s degree in Education with a Leadership Certification from Texas A&M – Commerce.
She has been married to her college sweetheart, Cory, is blessed to have two wonderful children. Her true passion is doing the right thing for children daily and asking herself, “Did I make a difference in a child’s life today?” She has an open door policy and welcomes you at any time.
Ms. Gardner is entering her 13th year in education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Special Education, both from the University of Florida. She moved to Georgia after graduation, when she was hired at Tritt as a long-term sub in 3rd grade. Since then, Ms. Gardner has taught 2nd Grade, 5th Grade, and Special Education. She was awarded Tritt’s Teacher of the Year for the 2022-2023 school year.
Outside of school, Ms. Gardner enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with family, and getting to the beach as often as possible.