Phone: (706) 694-3471


Degrees and Certifications:

Paula Wheeler


I am honored and excited to be your new principal at Varnell Elementary School.  My passion is to continue to lead and serve the students and staff at Varnell Elementary.  As a child, my education began at Varnell Elementary, then North Whitfield Middle School and graduated from Northwest High School in 1995.  My college career began at Dalton State College.  I then transferred to the University of North Georgia graduating with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Interrelated Special Education.  My Masters Degree from Central Michigan University is in Curriculum and Instruction and my Educational Specialist Degree is from Lincoln Memorial University.  This is my 23rd year in Whitfield County Schools.  After six years as an itinerant  special education teacher I became a special education teacher at Westside Elementary for nine years.  For the past seven years I have served as the Assistant Principal at Varnell Elementary.

My husband, Kevin, and I have been married for 22 years and have two beautiful children.  Our daughter Savannah is a sophomore  at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega studying to be a nurse and our son Dawson is a junior at Northwest High School.  My passions are spending time with my family,watching my son play football and fish, baking and cooking, working outside in my flower beds and garden,working on our Christmas tree farm, walking the beach with my mom and daughter and relaxing in the mountains. I am SO excited for this school year and making lots of wonderful new memories as a VARNELL COLT!




Degrees and Certifications:

Jennifer Thurman

Assistant Principal

Hello Colts,

It is my pleasure to introduce myself as your new Assistant Principal. I am honored and thrilled to join the Colts’ staff and serve a school with a reputation of positivity, purpose, and passion.

I have served a variety of roles in my 16 years with Whitfield County Schools. I began my educational field working in elementary, 2nd grade, before transitioning to serve as a math and reading support teacher in Early Intervention Program. Being in this support position fueled my passion for helping children learn and grow as a reader. I continued this passion by working as a Reading Recovery teacher. For my previous nine years, I have had the privilege of using my experiences both in the classroom and in support roles to impact both students and colleagues as an Instructional Coach in both elementary and middle school. I hope to bring my skills and variety of experiences to Varnell Elementary and promise to work and serve to the best of my ability.

Not only am I a proud educator of Whitfield County Schools, but I am also a proud alumni, having attended Cohutta Elementary, North Whitfield Middle, and Northwest Whitfield High School as a student.  I continued my education and earned my Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from West Georgia College, my Masters in Early Childhood Education from Berry College, and my Specialist in Teaching and Learning from Liberty University.  Currently, I am enrolled at Kennesaw State University to obtain my Leadership certification and plan to complete that during this school year. 

When I am not teaching, I love learning new things, reading books, going for walks, and most importantly spending time with my family. My husband, Kelvin, and I have two daughters. Rachel is in the education program at Dalton State and proudly works for Whitfield County Schools as a substitute teacher and After School Care worker. Nicole will be a senior at Northwest Whitfield High School and plays on their girls’ state-ranked volleyball and soccer teams. 

I look forward to meeting and working with all the Varnell community this next school year.