Career Academy leader brings passion, experience to the job

Lori Peacock already worked in one dream job.

This school year, she’s ready to take on a role she feels she’s been preparing for her entire career.

Peacock will serve as the new CEO of Golden Isles College and Career Academy.

Peacock moved to Glynn County this summer from Green Bay, Wisc., where until June 30 she worked as director of college, career and community readiness for the Green Bay Area Public School District.

Peacock, who will also serve as CTAE director for Glynn County Schools, said the position will allow her to do the kind of work she’s passionate about.

“The philosophy that I live by, as it relates to my career, is every job is needed and every job is noble, and that really provides the foundation for me on which to do my work,” she said.

She’s a longtime visitor to the Golden Isles, vacationing on St. Simons and Jekyll islands while visiting family in Alma. As she and her husband began preparing for the next phase of their lives a few years ago, Peacock began to consider moving to a coastal community. And she knew she wanted to continue working in education.

The timing of the Career Academy’s CEO vacancy felt fortuitous.

“I had been watching the Glynn County school district’s website for about the last six months because I knew I was going to do something with schools in the community. I just didn’t know what,” Peacock said. “And then they posted Rick Townsend’s job. And based on all my experience, I thought, ‘Alright I already have my dream job, but this is like the job I have been preparing my entire life for.”

She interviewed for the position virtually, and the Glynn County Board of Education approved her hire July 8.

Peacock spent the first third of her career working in marketing, advertising and public relations. She transitioned into the education field to work as a school counselor. She worked in school counseling for nearly 20 years and became passionate in career counseling for high school students.

She’s worked with students who did not plan to pursue a four-year college education and were left with little certainty of what their post-high school path should be.

Peacock spent the most recent part of her career in work-based learning and in developing youth apprenticeship opportunities, partnering with community members, businesses and industries to create new experiential learning programs for students in high school. Pathways she helped develop always centered on the three-legged stool concept, with input coming from the school district, a postsecondary partner and a business partner.

GICCA’s programming has been built on the same kind of model.

About 470 students are enrolled at GICCA for the fall semester. COVID-19 precautions will include available hand sanitizer at every entrance, one-way traffic flows in hallways and a face mask mandate for everyone in the building. Gloves will be worn by students in labs that require sharing supplies or tools.

Peacock said she intends to spend her first 90 days on the job listening, learning and understanding.

“I don’t want to be that person who comes in and says, ‘This is the way that I’ve always done it,’ or, ‘This is the way we did it somewhere else,’” she said. “I want to honor the work that has been done to this point.”

She hopes to extend the reach of what’s being offered by GICCA and through local work-based learning.

“(GICCA) is a school that I was hoping to build in Green Bay,” Peacock said. “We just weren’t there yet.”

She’s looking now for opportunities to get involved in the community despite the challenges of COVID-19.

“For me, this year is going to be all about getting to know people in my community,” she said.