New Staff Joins the Tribe: Pethel, Branson, Belew

Mandy Salmon, Staff Writer


Armuchee High School has welcomed many new staff this 2022-2023 school year, including Principal Mr. Joseph Pethel, Assistant Principal Mr. Michael Branson, and football coach Eric Belew. They each have goals they would like to pursue in the near future to better AHS.

Mr. Joseph Pethel was previously principal at Coosa Middle School, then proceeded to transfer to become principal at Armuchee High School. Pethel describes his time here as principal as humbling. He said, “I am just blown away at the quality of our students and teachers and the community in general. You guys are so amazing that it makes me want to do everything that I can in order to benefit students. Pethel exclaims that Armuchee High has always been his “dream goal” since he has been in the education system. Pethel said, “It almost felt like a calling to come back and work here.” Pethel, a graduate in 2000, grew up in Armuchee, attended school and church in Armuchee, and this community is his home. Pethel believes that he owes a lot to not only the community but specifically the Armuchee schools. Pethel said, “Everything good that has happened in my life, God has used the community of Armuchee to be the foundation for those things to come together.” Pethel hopes to alter the mindset of the Armuchee students. He believes that you should treat others as more significant than yourself. Mr. Pethel has instilled the motto at Armuchee High School that “We is greater than me.” He plans to better the Armuchee Community with this goal in mind and looks forward to the years to come.

Mr. Michael Branson; Assistant Principal of Curriculum, has recently joined the Armuchee community for the 2022-2023 school year. He previously served as the Assistant Principal at Rome High School. Branson’s mission is to keep his priorities of God, family, and work. Branson is also involved in his community by coaching his son’s soccer team and leading a Bible study at church. Branson hopes to bring new ideas to support our students here at AHS. In particular, he plans to bring dual enrollment on campus for the first time in Armuchee’s history. He hopes for the students to achieve what they want in life when they graduate from Armuchee. Branson said, “It’s a great experience to see hope in humanity with the way our students act.” Mr. Branson has noticed the participation of students in volunteer organizations and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  Armuchee has close to 120 members in FCA. “It’s great to see the heart that our student body has.” Armuchee has given him the ability to lend students grace and autonomy to make decisions. During the transition to Armuchee High School, Branson said how helpful and welcoming the students and staff have been, in particular, Mr. Pethel, principal, and Mrs.Hammond, counselor.

Coach Eric Belew was approved and announced as the new head football coach at Armuchee High School in 2023. He had previously been at Rockmart for three years as a history teacher, as well as a football coach. Belew believes it is a great place to live and an even better place to teach, as well as an amazing place to send his children to school when they are old enough. Though he has only been at Armuchee High School for a week, he describes how the community we have at AHS, especially staff and administration, have been so incredibly helpful by helping him find his way around the facility and getting his Floyd County School account successfully set up.