Right at home


Camdyn Thigpen, Staff Writer

While students may only know him as the administrator patrolling the hallways at Creekview with a walkie talkie in hand and a stern look on his face, there is much more to this man.  

When assistant principal Mark Vance was growing up, he wanted to be a teacher. He had two adults from his high school reach out to him, and they changed his life forever.  

“I was homeless part of my life, so I had a teacher and administrator who took me in and helped kind of take care of me when I was younger,” Vance said.  

During that difficult time in Vance’s life, he needed help getting simple everyday items.  

Vance got his first job teaching at Cherokee High School when he was only 22. He spent five years teaching there before moving to River Ridge to be the head baseball coach.  

“I’ve taught them all. I’ve taught physics, anatomy, biology, earth, and environmental. My least favorite is chemistry. My favorite is anatomy,” Vance said. 

At River Ridge, Vance taught for another five years. He then moved to Etowah for leadership opportunities, where he spent the next five years teaching and coaching before coming to Creekview to be an assistant principal. 

“Once you get hired, you go through the interview process to become an assistant principal, and they put you where they feel your skills are best, and I believe that they felt that at Creekview,” Vance said.  

Originally from Mississippi, Vance came to Georgia with his wife to visit her family. While he was here, he fell in love with the area and decided to attend a job fair, so he could potentially stay in Georgia. That job fair lead to his first teaching job.  

“I got the phone call; could I come back in for an interview tomorrow morning?” Vance said.  

Vance returned home from Georgia, and he was not even unpacked when he got the call for an interview. He threw some clean clothes into a bag and began the seven-hour drive back. 

“What do you do when you’re trying to get a job? I’ll be there tomorrow morning,” Vance said. 

After 15 years and three different schools, Vance switched from teaching to being an administrator because he wanted to inspire and encourage more people daily, just like the teacher and administrator did for him when he was younger.  

“When I was a teacher, I only got to help 200 kids a day. Now that I am an assistant principal, I get to help over 2,000 students a day,” Vance said.  

A minimum of three years as an assistant principal is needed to become a principal. Vance is currently in a leadership program and looks forward to becoming a principal in the future. 

“I came here in 2020, and I was a COVID year hire. It was rough, but I was pumped to be an assistant principal,” Vance said.  

Vance’s main goal as an administrator is to give teachers the support they need, which he hopes will then reflect on the students. Like those teachers who helped him, he wants to be a mentor and role model to the next generation’s coming through his schools.