Volume 6 , Number 1 March 13, 2014


This Fall/Winter issue recognizes honors from the close of the 2012-13 school year through the first semester of 2013-14.

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Gwinnett problem-solving teams earn honors
in international competition

Four Gwinnett schools— Riverside ES, Simpson ES, Pinckneyville MS, and Norcross HS— won recognition at the International competition of the Future Problem Solving Program this summer.
—Riverside ES’ student team, coached by Marion Sebastian, placed 8th out of 58 teams in the Junior Team Global Issues competition;
—Simpson ES coach Kathy Russo received one of the Keith Frampton Awards for excellence in coaching;
—Pinckneyville MS’ student team, coached by Jennifer Lynn Wang and Julie Ruthowski, placed 1st in Scenario Writing for the Middle Division, 2nd place in an on-site Scenario Writing team exercise, and 5th place in the Individual Junior Global Issues competition; and
—Norcross HS’ student team, coached by Dwayne Alvis, earned 3rd place in the Individual Senior Global Issues competition and 2nd place as a participant in a Multi-Affiliate Global Issues competition.

Future Problem Solving is an international competition which involves students in the study of real-world issues through research and use of the six steps of the creative problem-solving process. With this approach, students discover the underlying problem of the issue, devise possible solutions, and select the best solution along with a method for “selling” that idea to the public.
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Commitment to fitness earns Berkmar MS a ‘National Champion School’ title

The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils honored Berkmar MS as a National Champion School, and donated physical education equipment worth approximately $100,000 through the organization’s National Champion Fitness Center Grant.

“Receiving this award has brought a lot of excitement to Berkmar Middle School!” says Dana Griffith, Health and P.E. teacher. “There is a positive relationship between physical fitness, academic performance, school attendance, and school discipline. The state-of-the-art Live Positively Fitness Center will enhance this by providing innovative equipment designed specifically for school-age kids. Through the program’s implementation, the fitness center will be a place where students are provided a safe setting to build confidence, self-esteem, and skills necessary to make health-enhancing decisions.”


Pictured left to right: Berkmar MS Principal Kenney Wells,
First Lady Sandra Deal, Jake Steinfeld,
and Governor Nathan Deal.


Dana Griffith, Berkmar MS’ Health and P.E. teacher,
speaks during the award presentation.
The award included the design, delivery, and installation of the equipment within the school’s existing building structure.

Ms. Griffith adds, “[The fitness center] will be used as a regular component of our physical education curriculum, with six classes participating in the circuit daily. Additionally, it will be open for student use before school through our intramural program and one day a week after school for parents to participate in the fitness circuit with their students. Through this award, we have an amazing opportunity to change the lives of our students and make a positive impact on their future health and wellness.”

Special guests on hand for the event included CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, Gov. Nathan Deal, First Lady Sandra Deal, and Jake Steinfeld, founder of the Body By Jake line of personal fitness equipment and TV fitness broadcast.

The center includes 23 stations, each with two pieces of equipment (46 total pieces of equipment) and two XBox stations with fitness-focused games for the students.


Berkmar MS students move through circuit training
in the new fitness center.

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Mason ES’ Zorn named 2014 National Counselor of the Year

Mrs.Zorn shares her remarks after accepting
the 2014 National Counselor of the Year Award.
Robin Zorn of Mason ES was named 2014 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Counselor of the Year in December. An ASCA representative traveled to Mason ES to surprise Mrs. Zorn with the announcement, and she formally accepted the award at the ASCA black-tie gala in Washington, D.C., in January.

Mrs. Zorn had earned state and local recognition as the 2012 Georgia Elementary Counselor of the Year and the 2012 Gwinnett County Elementary Counselor of the Year. She has dedicated two decades of service to Gwinnett County Public Schools students and is known for her innovative guidance lessons and programs. For example, hundreds of elementary school peer leaders come together during the annual conference that Mrs. Zorn launched in 2010. At the conference, elementary school students from across the district gather to learn about how to be a better leader. Topics at this conference typically include: Leadership, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids, Bullying Prevention, and Reading and Mathematics Strategies. Since the first annual conference, the event has become a popular learning gathering for students, counselors, principals, and community members.

     Mrs. Zorn earned both her master’s degree and specialist’s degree from Georgia State University in school counseling.

Dr. Tinisha Parker of the Office of Advisement and Counseling was a semifinalist for the national honor for her work as a counselor at Gwinnett Online Campus. She also earned state and county kudos in 2012.
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Shiloh HS’ Parker selected to participate in Emerging Leaders Program and Education Policy Fellowship Program

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Eric Parker of Shiloh HS on his selection for the 2013 Emerging Leaders Class of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and the 6th Education Policy Fellowship Program Class of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE).

“I was excited to hear that I had been selected to these prestigious educational programs,” says Dr. Parker. “Although I had been nominated, I didn’t fully anticipate selection based on the reported high number of nominees and the stringent selection process for both.” Dr. Parker is one of 25 educators from around the globe participating in the two-year Emerging Leaders Class.


Dr. Eric Parker

As one of 21 selectees of the Education Policy Fellowship Program Class, Dr. Parker will spend nine months developing a broadened understanding of the policy process within the context of education and related issues.

He adds, “The experience in these programs thus far has provided me with an opportunity to work with various school leaders and business executives from across the nation and from other parts of the world. The insight and discussions on the development of educational policy in our legislature has been particularly fascinating. I look forward to transferring all of these experiences and interactions back locally to ensure that we are actively engaged in the practices that other high performing schools, districts, and businesses are using to be successful.”

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Brookwood HS’ Kling earns Top Ten Educator distinction
Dana Kling of Brookwood HS, a 2013 STAR teacher for Gwinnett County, was named one of the “Top Ten Educators of the Year” by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Mr. Kling says he was “honored and thankful” to have been nominated by a former student.

“The most inspiring aspect of the ceremony was listening to the other recognized educators,” he adds. “Their accomplishments and their enthusiasm for teaching reinvigorated my commitment. When students are at the center of your teaching— with your discipline a close second— so much seems to fall into place.”

Mr. Kling, an American Literature and Advanced Placement Literature teacher, was formally honored in December at the Carter Center in Atlanta. He was one of 10 teachers from around the country named a 2013 Claes Nobel Educator of the Year, which is the NSHSS’ tribute to the best of the best— educators committed to helping their students achieve their maximum potential for success in and out of the classroom.

A three-time honoree for the STAR (Student and Teacher Achievement Recognition) honor, Mr. Kling joined the school district and Brookwood HS in 2003. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University and a master’s degree in English Education from the University of Georgia.
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Osborne MS’ Gillespie recognized as National Junior Art Honor Society Sponsor of the Year
Dallas Gillespie of Osborne MS was named National Junior Art Honor Society Sponsor of the Year. The national award honors Mr. Gillespie’s dedication in leading an outstanding student chapter.  

Mr. Gillespie began his career with GCPS in 2003 as an art teacher at Dacula Middle. In 2004, he became part of the inaugural staff at Osborne Middle. In addition to teaching art, Mr. Gillespie works with Osborne Middle students on the school’s annual yearbook. He earned his associate’s degree in Education from Floyd College and a bachelor’s degree in Art Education from the University of Georgia.

The National Art Honor Society will officially present the award to Mr. Gillespie during the National Art Education Association Conference later this month in San Diego.

This is not the first recognition Mr. Gillespie has earned for his contributions to the field of art education. In 2010, he was honored by the Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA) as its GAEA Middle School Teacher of the Year.
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GCPS TV earns prestigious EMMY Award for ‘Love that Book!’ episode
The Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored the Broadcast and Distance Learning team with its third EMMY Award for “Love that Book!” The award-winning production was recognized in the category of “Outstanding Achievement: News and Program Specialty Excellence, Children/Youth (12 and under) Program.”

“We are pleased that the Academy continues to recognize GCPS for our children’s programming,” says Greg LaHatte, the school district’s director of broadcast and distance learning. “It is wonderful to see our team’s commitment to creating and providing the highest quality of educational programming recognized. ‘Love that Book’ is another way our school system promotes reading as a fundamental for student success.”

Pictured left to right: Randall Tolliver, Kolinda Scialabba, Carmen Agra Deedy, and Glenn Ballard pose with the EMMY.

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Four Gwinnett schools named 2012 Georgia Schools of Excellence
In August, the Georgia Department of Education named Harris ES, Head ES, Mulberry ES, and Osborne MS as 2012 Georgia Schools of Excellence. The honor recognizes the three elementary schools and middle school as being among the state’s top schools for the work their teachers and communities have done to help students achieve their highest potential.

In congratulating this year’s honorees, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Barge, “These schools are the epitome of excellence. With our new, more rigorous accountability system, these schools really shine. Their focus on areas that impact student success is evident across the board.”

This year, the Georgia Department of Education evaluated schools using the state’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) for 2011-12. It selected schools in each congressional district in the following categories:

    • Highest Performance: “Highest Performance” schools represent the top performing schools within each Congressional District on the College and Career-Ready Performance Index.
    • Highest Progress: “Highest Progress” schools represent the school making the greatest gains within each Congressional District on the College and Career-Ready Performance Index.
Osborne MS made the list in the “Highest Progress” category while Harris ES, Head ES, and Mulberry ES all were honored in the “Highest Performance” category.

“This award validates the dedicated and relentless work of our staff. I am so proud of all that our students and teachers have accomplished,” says Dr. Lauri Burton, principal of Harris ES. “Our faculty, parents, and community stakeholders are very involved and invested in the success of our students.” This is the second time the Georgia DOE has honored Harris as a Georgia School of Excellence, the first time being in 1988.

The Mulberry ES learning community celebrates its first Georgia School of Excellence recognition, a sign the Georgia DOE has noticed the work they have done for a fairly young school since opening in 2007. “We are honored to be among those recognized,” says Principal Vivian Stranahan. “The award is an affirmation of the innovative work of our teachers and the support of our parents and community. It is a celebration of our children and their successes. As with all schools in Gwinnett, we enjoy a clearly defined curriculum, and teachers employ instructional strategies that engage kids and challenge them to think and to communicate their learning.”

Head ES and Osborne MS also have earned the honor in the past. This year’s group is the single largest group recognized at one time in recent years. In 2011, Level Creek ES was recognized with the honor.

The honorees will receive a $1,000 monetary award from Georgia Natural Gas. United Healthcare also serves as a sponsor for the state program.
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Gwinnett BOE honors GCPS Reward Schools
The Gwinnett County Board of Education congratulated a number of Gwinnett schools on their recognition from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) as 2013 Reward Schools. The state recognition for these Title I schools highlights the work they have done to help students be successful. Title I schools have a high percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

GaDOE recognizes Rewards Schools in two categories:

“Highest Performing” are Title I schools that rank in the highest 5% in Georgia over three years, based on the performance of all students on statewide assessments. Those schools include:

Highest Performing Rewards Schools
Harris ES
Knight ES
Lovin ES

“High Progress” denotes Title I schools in the top 10% in Georgia in terms of making the most progress in improving all students’ performance over three years on statewide assessments. Those schools include:

High Progress Rewards Schools
Benefield ES
Lilburn ES
Meadowcreek ES
Partee ES

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28 schools recognized on 2013 Governor’s SHAPE Honor Roll
In an effort to support the fitness assessment initiative, Governor Deal’s Office created the Georgia Student Health and Physical Education (S.H.A.P.E.) partnership in 2010. In 2013, 28 Gwinnett schools earned the S.H.A.P.E. award:
Gold Medal Schools
Craig ES
Grayson ES
Lovin ES
Mulberry ES
Simonton ES
Woodward Mill ES
Berkmar MS

Silver Medal Schools
Benefield ES
Britt ES
Burnette ES
Camp Creek ES
Ferguson ES
Freeman’s Mill ES
Harmony ES
Harris ES
Lawrenceville ES
Parsons ES
Creekland MS
Dacula MS
Duluth MS
Osborne MS
Pinckneyville MS
Richards MS
Trickum MS
Gwinnett Online Campus

Bronze Medal Schools
Harbins ES
Suwanee ES
Brookwood HS

The Georgia S.H.A.P.E. partnership is a group of government, education, healthcare, and not-for-profit leaders who provide schools with the information and tools necessary to successfully implement a fitness assessment program. These partners provide funding, training, data centralization, reward/recognition, and a plan for long-term results. The goal of this recognition program is to improve Georgia’s future, beginning with our state’s most vital and important asset: our young people.
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Shiloh MS honored in Family-Friendly Partnership School Awards
Shiloh MS was selected as one of four 2013 winners of the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) Family-Friendly Partnership School Award. Shiloh HS and Snellville MS were finalists for the statewide award.

The GaDOE cited a number of factors in the selection of the winning schools. The winners were selected as representatives of the best in customer service for Georgia families, whether it’s on the phone, in the front office, or on the Internet. The schools have welcoming staff members, comfortable waiting areas, clear signage, and engaging student work throughout the building. They have easy-to-navigate websites and are forging partnerships with parents to help improve student achievement. The schools also provide unique, engaging, and innovative parent engagement programming that is successful in reaching all families in the school.

“The schools that won this award understand the importance of what welcoming environments bring to student success. Truly, they are models for the entire state on how to engage families and make parents feel welcome from the moment that they walk in the door,” says State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.
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Two GCPS schools named STEM Education Awards finalists
The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the state’s leading association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, named Benefield ES a finalist in the “Best Georgia STEM Day Activity” category, while Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) was honored in the “Classroom Technology” category. The Georgia STEM Education Awards recognizes schools, programs, and companies for outstanding efforts and achievements in supporting and promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education in Georgia.

“Benefield is thankful for the partnership with GSMST and the connection our students have built through our STEM Day Activity,” says Dr. Melissa Walker, principal of Benefield ES. “It is exciting to have our students connect learning with real-life applications and open the door to future STEM career opportunities. We look forward to growing our STEM partnership with GSMST.”
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13 Gwinnett educators among Master Teachers certified by the state
Since 2005, Georgia educators have had the opportunity to earn the Georgia “Master Teacher” certification, a designation based on demonstrated excellence in student achievement and student growth. Since the state’s Master Teacher certification program began, more than 90 Gwinnett educators have earned the designation.

Gwinnetts newest Master Teachers are:

Master Teacher Honorees
Catherine Huynh of Benefield ES
Sherry Bradford of Berkmar MS
Lissette McRea of Berkmar MS
Janet Rasch of Berkmar MS
Linda King of Duluth MS
Dr. Charles Lockert of Gwinnett School of Mathematics,
Science, and Technology
Shuanita Cochran of Hull MS
Misty Watkins of Minor ES
Jodi Harrison of North Gwinnett MS
Michele Meddin of North Gwinnett MS
Richard Whatley of Radloff MS
Michael Kelly of Snellville MS
Sally Burkett of Twin Rivers MS

“Gwinnett’s Master Teachers represent the commitment to quality we strive for, and the professional dedication we value in GCPS,” says Dr. Nikki Mouton, GCPS’ executive director of Curriculum and Instruction. “These educators are to be commended for their efforts and for all they do to support students’ success in their classrooms.”

Georgia’s Master Teacher Certification Program is coordinated by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC). Based on classroom performance on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), documentation of student growth and exemplary professional practices, superior teachers are designated as “Master Teachers” for a period of seven years. Master Teachers are eligible to automatically renew their teaching certificates as long as they continue to qualify for Master Teacher status. Application materials for the 2014 cycle are available on the GaPSCs website.
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White Oak’s Diaz to represent Georgia as state’s top counselor for 2013
The Georgia School Counselors Association (GSCA) named Jennifer Diaz of White Oak ES as the 2013 Georgia School Counselor of the Year, and Andi Hodgin of Lanier MS as one of three semifinalists for the honor. In February 2013, both counselors were honored by the school district in their respective school levels. Ms. Diaz will represent Georgia in national competition for the nation’s top counselor in 2015.

With reactions ranging from “shock” to “complete disbelief,” both Ms. Diaz and Ms. Hodgin were surprised with their awards. “I truly am honored that the [GSCA] felt that my work is worthy of this recognition because there are such great things going on all over our state,” says Ms. Diaz.

Ms. Hodgin adds, “I believe being a semifinalist will afford me opportunities to advocate for the profession of school counseling and students on a larger scale. I hope to expand my connections within our community to support and develop programs that are research-based and data-driven using 21st century skills to enhance student success in all areas of school.”

Gwinnett County counselors are consistently among the most recognized in the country in terms of state and national honors. This year’s recognition marks the second consecutive year a Gwinnett school counselor earned the overall state title. The state counseling group began naming one overall counselor of the year during the 2012-13 school year and that inaugural honor for 2012 was presented to Robin Zorn of Mason ES. Mrs. Zorn went on to win the national title for 2014 (see above).
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Peachtree Ridge HS’ Steele named 2014 Secondary Art Educator of the Year
Hope Steele of Peachtree Ridge HS was named 2014 Secondary Art Educator of the Year by the Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA). This award recognizes Ms. Steele’s leadership within the organization and her accomplishments as a professional educator. Ms. Steele joined Gwinnett in 2003, and also serves as the All-State Art Symposium Chair for GAEA.

“We have so many talented teachers throughout the state and right here in Gwinnett that I was honored to be recognized,” she says. “[The award] has given me confidence and solidified my feelings that the work we do at Peachtree Ridge, and our participation in events outside of the school, such as in shows and competitions, are important and recognized... and are very important milestones to students. It also has reinforced to me how important it is for our art classes to work with other classes within the school, and for me to continue to gain valuable knowledge and insight from my colleagues across the state.”
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Britt ES’ DaSilva tapped for Teacher of Promise Award

Sarah DaSilva celebrates her 2013 Teacher of Promise Award.
The Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics honored Sarah DaSilva of Britt ES as the 2013 Teacher of Promise. The award is presented to a Mathematics teacher in Georgia who has recently entered the field and who demonstrates qualities of excellence in the teaching of Mathematics.

“Receiving the award reminded me that taking the extra effort to find and create meaningful lessons and activities is well worth the time,” says Ms. DaSilva. “Seeing the award sitting on the shelf in my classroom is a visual reminder to make the most of all instructional time. It also gives me a little boost of energy to stay that extra 30 minutes at the end of the day to make sure I'm ready to jump right into the next school day feeling prepared.”

A 1st grade teacher at Britt, Ms. DaSilva was honored for her creativity, her integrity, and her commitment to the achievement of all learners in her classroom. She joined the school and GCPS in 2010. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia College and State University.

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Puckett’s Mill ES’ McGiboney earns recognition as state’s top social studies educator
Colleen McGiboney of Puckett's Mill ES was named Educator of the Year by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies, and she was presented with the 2013 Gwen Hutcheson Outstanding Social Studies Educator Award.

The award recognizes a teacher who demonstrates significant service and fosters the development of democratic values and citizenship in the classroom, school, and community; exhibits professional involvement beyond normal job requirements; demonstrates efforts toward the improvement of student learning in social studies; uses multiple sources to enhance social studies instruction; and participates in professional publications and conference and/or workshop presentations.

“When I discovered that I had been chosen to receive this award, my initial reaction was a combination of surprise and excitement,” says Ms. McGiboney. “It has truly been an honor and means a great deal to me. The award definitely inspires my work in the classroom. I feel like it reaffirms the value of inquiry-based instruction and it recognizes the positive impact of integrating technology into the classroom. It also introduces me to educators outside of my local area and I am discovering additional ways to grow professionally. I hope to take advantage of these new opportunities and will continue to develop activities that will benefit my students and improve my instruction.”

Ms. McGiboney joined the school district and Norcross ES in 1995. She taught Kindergarten at Mason ES before moving to Puckett's Mill. She earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University and Brenau University, respectively.
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Staff, PTA units recognized at state level
Georgia PTA extended kudos to schools and individuals in PTA District 12:
    • Outstanding School Nurse: Angilia Angi Leathers, Couch MS, Area 3
    • Family-School Partnership Award: Anderson-Livsey ES, Area 1, and Taylor ES, Area 2
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Teachers As Leaders Class of 2013-14 named
The 24th Teachers As Leaders (TAL) Class of 2013-14 includes 39 Gwinnett educators as participants:
Teachers As Leaders Class of 2013-14
Amanda Acres of Harbins ES
Marquitis Adams of Jenkins ES
Amanda Broadnax of Craig ES
Sally Burkett of Twin Rivers MS
Michele Celani of Trickum MS
Michael Clyne of Kanoheda ES
Stacy Crisler of Starling ES
Laura Droms of Mountain View HS
Jennifer Edwards of Creekland MS
Leilani Esmond of Staff Development
Robert Frazier of South Gwinnett HS
Cheryl Gardner of Dacula HS
Elizabeth Geozos of Duluth MS
Kathy Gosman of Norton ES
McCall Grosso of North Gwinnett HS
Scherrie Hardy of Five Forks MS
Misty Head of Beaver Ridge ES
Brittany Johnson of Harmony ES
Valeria Killion of Head ES
Catalina Kreider of Jones MS
Amy B. Lazic of Lovin ES
Kelli Lester of Alford ES
Caryn Lott of Grayson ES
Venetia Lowe of Shiloh ES
Meghan Magruder of Corley ES
Lea McCart of Grayson HS
Kelli McCormick of Walnut Grove ES
Christy Neal of Taylor ES
Courtney O’Brien of Peachtree Ridge HS
John O’Keefe of Riverside ES
Carrie Settles of Brookwood HS
Ashley Shaver of Richards MS
Charlotte Taylor of Minor ES
Yvonda Thomas of Alcova ES
Camilla Thompson-Stith of Shiloh HS
Kasha Trice of Shiloh MS
Denise Vandament of Ivy Creek ES
Andrew Whatley of Radloff MS
Cristal Williams of Norcross ES

The purpose of Teachers As Leaders is to develop personal and organizational leadership skills for classrooms and local schools. Participants are selected based on an application process, nominations from their principals, and are identified as outstanding classroom leaders with at least three years of teaching experience. They are introduced to a core curriculum of leadership principles and provided opportunities to explore leadership skills through a series of retreats and program days that include meeting with community, state, and national leaders in both education and business.

According to Nancy Ward, executive director of Teachers As Leaders, Inc., TAL will begin its 25th year in the spring of 2015, and a large event is being planning to mark this milestone.
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Board honors Levengood with Public Service Award
The Board of Education recognized Mike Levengood with Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Public Service Award in recognition of his steadfast support of public education and the school district through his citizen leadership and service in numerous, significant school district endeavors. Mr. Levengood and his wife have three sons who attended and graduated from schools in the Parkview Cluster.

In addition to serving as a leader in local school PTAs and School Councils, Mr. Levengood has provided leadership at the district level, serving on the Superintendent’s Council of Community Advisors and on the Superintendent’s Business Leaders Council.

Mr. Levengood receives his award from
Board Chairman Carole Boyce
at the Sept. 19 Board Meeting.

Mr. Levengood’s passion for Gwinnett’s public schools and his belief that all Gwinnett Kids Count led to his recruitment to serve on committees that organized efforts for the education SPLOST renewals in 2001, 2006, and 2011. He also led the team in 2007 that successfully passed the 2008 G.O. bond campaign.

In reviewing Mr. Levengood’s contributions, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said, “He is a proven friend to public education. The members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education and I are appreciative of his support and leadership, and thank him for his service to the children of Gwinnett County.”
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80 Gwinnett head custodians earn district’s top honor, 122 schools honored for exemplary work
For the 25th consecutive year, the school system honored 80 head school custodians for exemplary achievement during its annual Head Custodian Appreciation Breakfast at the close of the 2012-13 school year.

These top professionals were selected based on their achievement on multiple criteria, including the composite score of two semi-annual inspections; adherence to the GCPS Custodial Care Program; proper set-up and provisioning of custodial storage rooms, with updated cleaning chemicals present; submission and approval of detailed work schedules; attendance at monthly head custodian training, including annual hazard communication; documentation of subsequent local custodial staff training; demonstrated proficiency in the use and care of system-approved equipment; management of equipment inventory and repair with the maintenance system; and scheduled monthly replenishment of custodial supplies via a computerized supply chain system.

This year, the Exemplary Custodial Care Award was introduced and presented to schools whose head custodian received an award. This dual award represents the crucial and necessary partnership between a school’s head custodian, its entire custodial staff, administration, teachers, and students in order to achieve the required criteria for the Head Custodian award:

2013 Head Custodian of the Year Awards
15 Years
Julie Beverly of Archer HS
Steve Nunley of Osborne MS

13 Years
Carol Back of Winn Holt ES

11 Years
Vickie Hendrix of Freeman’s Mill ES
Senada Ajanic of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Debra McGaha of Mountain View HS
Ana Sanchez of Phoenix HS

10 Years
Loyd Eubanks of Central Gwinnett HS
Connie Fulcher of Sycamore ES

9 Years
Bianca Portwood of GIVE Center West
Joan Tullis of Harbins ES
Branka Zubcevic of Oakland Meadow
Dan Murphy of Pharr ES
Gloria Green of Puckett’s Mill ES
Gabriela Amariei of Walnut Grove ES

8 Years
Eva Lopez of Anderson-Livsey ES
Tanya Aciu of Dacula ES
Mark Humphrey of Duncan Creek ES
Jacob Margau of Patrick ES


7 Years
Larry Campbell of Lovin ES
Deborah Free of Jackson ES
Brenda Humphrey of Jones MS

6 Years
Yudith Hernandez of Berkmar MS
Nina Khokhlan of Cooper ES
Kathy Shewbert of Couch MS
Brandon Wilson of Harmony ES
Melanie Watson of Harris ES
Beth Meistickle of Maxwell HS of Technology
Anka Logsdon of McConnell MS
Lidia Beganovic of Mill Creek HS
Lynn Butler of North Gwinnett MS
Sarah Smith of Starling ES
Ronda Price of Suwanee ES

5 Years
Jim Sanders of Berkeley Lake ES
Any Tanasa of Bethesda ES
Jean Lyron of Mountain Park ES
Camila Vugdalic of Mulberry ES
Gabriela Dan of Parsons ES

4 Years
Besima Hodzic of Beaver Ridge ES
David Long of Brookwood HS
Robin Thomas of Chattahoochee ES
John Edwards of Facilities and Operations
Dmitriy Krudu of Partee ES
Clemente Amable of Trip ES
Pamela Hall of Twin Rivers MS
Semija Causevic of Woodward Mill ES

3 Years
Pedro Arana of Annistown ES
Mike Stanfield of Arcado ES
Buddy Hamilton of Buice School
Mihaela Merisanu of Burnette ES
Xhyla Paloji of Chesney ES
Cornelia Budecea of Corley ES
Enesa Wubishet of Grayson ES
Angela Long of Gwin Oaks ES
Hasija Heco of Head ES
Lisa Mosley of Jenkins ES
Tim Wilson of Lanier HS
Normis Garcia of Lanier MS
Sherri Davis of Level Creek ES
Roberto Robau of Meadowcreek ES
Chris Shaw of Minor ES
Angelo Rodriguez of Norton ES
Jana Hadzic of Simonton ES
Svetlana Bantya of Snellville MS

2 Years
Bea Pence of Alcova ES
Mary Bea Moyers of Britt ES
Maria Matasic of Brookwood ES
Cornelia Berende of Hull MS
Pamela Copeland of Kanoheda ES
Sharon Barfield of Moore MS
Andrei Kusovschi of Radloff MS
Adrian Adams of Rock Springs ES

First-time winners
David Murphy of Dacula HS
Samira Tahirovic of Fort Daniel ES
Alex Mois of Grace Snell MS
Joe Thompson of Grayson HS
Johnny Tu of Monarch School
Dragana Sejdic of Richards MS
Claudia Circa of Roberts ES
Jon Williams of South Gwinnett HS

This year, the Exemplary Custodial Care Award was introduced and presented to schools whose head custodian received an award. This dual award represents the crucial and necessary partnership between a school’s head custodian, its entire custodial staff, administration, teachers, and students in order to achieve the required criteria for the Head Custodian award:
2013 Exemplary Custodial Care Awards
13 years
Bethesda ES

12 Years
Craig ES
Crews MS
McConnell MS
Walnut Grove ES

11 Years
Collins Hill HS
Fort Daniel ES
Freeman’s Mill ES


10 Years
McKendree ES
Sycamore ES

9 Years
Brookwood HS
Central Gwinnett HS
Dacula ES
Grayson HS
Harbins ES
Magill ES
Mill Creek HS
Oakland Meadow School
Osborne MS
Partee ES
Pharr ES
Rock Springs ES
Snellville MS
Winn Holt ES

8 Years
Cooper ES
Dacula HS
Duncan Creek ES
GIVE Center West
Grayson ES
Knight ES
Monarch School
Norcross ES
Radloff MS


7 Years
Berkmar HS
Berkeley Lake ES
Facilities and Operations
Harmony ES
Hooper Renwick School
Jackson ES
Jones MS
Level Creek ES
Lilburn ES
Mountain Park ES

6 Years
Alford ES
Berkmar MS
Chattahoochee ES
Chesney ES

Mulberry ES
Patrick ES
Suwanee ES

5 Years
Arcado ES
Beaver Ridge ES
Buice School
Five Forks MS
Harris ES
Lovin ES
Parsons ES
Puckett’s Mill ES
Riverside ES

4 Years
Annistown ES
Archer HS
Cedar Hill ES
Centerville ES
Gwin Oaks ES
Head ES
Hopkins ES
Hull MS
Maxwell HS of Technology
Minor ES
Mountain View HS
North Gwinnett MS
Phoenix HS
Richards MS
Simonton ES
Starling ES
Trickum MS
Trip ES
Twin Rivers MS
White Oak ES
3 Years
Anderson-Livsey ES
Burnette ES
Camp Creek ES
Corley ES
Couch MS
Dacula MS
Duluth HS
Dyer ES
Grace Snell MS
Gwinnett School of Mathematics,
Science, and Technology
Ivy Creek ES
Kanoheda ES
Lanier HS
Lanier MS
Meadowcreek ES
Norton ES
Peachtree Ridge HS
Shiloh ES
Shiloh MS
Simpson ES
South Gwinnett HS
Woodward Mill ES

2 Years
Alcova ES
Bay Creek MS
Britt ES
Brookwood ES
Duluth MS
Jenkins ES
Lawrenceville ES
Lilburn MS
Mason ES
Moore MS
Nesbit ES
Rosebud ES
Roberts ES
Sugar Hill ES
Sweetwater MS

1 Year
Meadowcreek HS
Norcross HS
Peachtree ES
Pinckneyville MS
Rockbridge ES
Summerour MS

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GCPS honors 2014 counseling award winners
The Superintendent, Board members, school principals, and district leaders highlighted the key role school counselors play in the academic success and overall well-being of all Gwinnett children during National Counseling Week in February. The school district named its 2014 top counseling professionals of the year and introduced a new award— the 21st Century Comprehensive Counseling Award. This award recognizes outstanding, innovative programs that show evidence of counseling program advocacy and goals that use data to guide program design, delivery, and evaluation. 
The 2014 honorees are:


Stacey Lynn Miller of Roberts ES
2014 Gwinnett County Elementary School Counselor of the Year


From left to right: Dr. Dion Jones, principal of Roberts ES, Stacey Lynn Miller,and CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.
21st Century Comprehensive Counseling
Program of the Year Award recipients:

Ferguson ES: Sherry Ferguson and Ginny Wages, counselors 

From left to right: Ginny Wages, Julie Peyton, principal of Ferguson ES,
Sherry Ferguson, and CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.

Andrea Antwine of Couch MS
2014 Gwinnett County Middle School Counselor of the Year


From left to right: Devon Williams, principal of Couch MS, Andrea Antwine, and CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.
Couch MS: Andrea Antwine, Nadege Azor,
Rhonda Chapman, and Dr. David Anderson, counselors  


From left to right: Devon Williams, principal of Couch MS, Nadege Azor,
Dr. David Anderson, Rhonda Chapman,
and CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.
Rasheedra Nelson of Collins Hill HS
2014 Gwinnett County Secondary School Counselor of the Year


From left to right: Rasheedra Nelson, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, and Kerensa Wing, principal of Collins Hill HS.

Lanier MS: Andrea Hodgin and Kathryn Palmer, counselors 

From left to right: Jaime Espinosa, principal of Lanier MS, Kathryn Palmer,
Andrea Hodgin, and CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.



Principal Linda Boyd of Twin Rivers MS
2014 Gwinnett County
Mary Joe Hannaford
Counseling Advocate of the Year


From left to right: Kelly Flower, Heather Haynes,
Linda Boyd, principal of Twin Rivers MS, and Jennifer Moore.

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School district names fifth cohort of Aspiring Leader Program
GCPS selected 75 educators to participate in the fifth cohort of the district's Quality-Plus Leader Academy (QPLA) Aspiring Leader Program (ALP). ALP develops a pool of future assistant principals during a six-month program. Teaching methods include case studies, role-playing activities, panel discussions, and collaborative adult learning. After completing the coursework, each participant will complete a three-week residency during summer school.

Selected through a rigorous screening process, the QPLA ALP Cohort V members include:
Class of 2013-14 - Cohort V
Cari Anderson of Twin Rivers MS
Robert Ayres of Phoenix HS
Ben Bachman of Lanier HS
Amy R. Baker of Brookwood ES
Brandon Bell of Nesbit ES
Sandi Bennett of Jones MS
Dr. Timothy Bollier of Mill Creek HS
Nick Boyers of White Oak ES
Dr. Mandi Burgess of Hopkins ES
Karen Casanova of Camp Creek ES
Robert Chase of Twin Rivers MS
LaTasha Cook of Five Forks MS
Stacie Coppola of Meadowcreek ES
Jana Czerwonky of Berkmar MS
Michelle B. Davis of Kanoheda ES
Laura Decker of Patrick ES
Dr. Doug Doblar of Britt ES
Meghan Driggers of Peachtree ES
Stacy Edwards of Radloff MS
Andrea M. Fowler of McConnell MS
Kari Frega of Winn Holt ES
Deborah Garner of Arcado ES
Allan Gehrisch of Chesney ES
Catana Harris of Alford ES
Eeoni Hollingsworth of Corley ES
Brian Howe of McConnell MS
Jason Isaacs of Summerour MS
Tonja Jackson of Partee ES
Dr. Jennifer Jankauskas of Creekland MS
Jill Landtroop of Grayson HS
Vicki Layne of Hull MS
Amy B. Lazic of Lovin ES
Sally Lehmann of Simonton ES
Katie Lowry of Dacula HS
Martina Luna-Liranzo of Rosebud ES
John Mangano of Parkview HS
Martin Maze of Chesney ES
Molly McAuliffe of Gwinnett School of
Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Joan McElroy of Lanier MS
Kimberly McTeer of Trickum MS
Nakia Miller of Snellville MS
Shavaun Mincey of Lawrenceville ES
Elizabeth Morris of Nesbit ES
Lisa Newberry of Parkview HS
Tedra Norwood of Centerville ES
Dr. Heena Patel of Benefield ES
Jillian Peterman of Puckett’s Mill ES
Mandie Pulley of Jones MS
Dr. Bev Renales of Berkmar HS
Rachael Renje of Monarch School
Tamia Robb of Moore MS
Brenda Robinson of Partee ES
Kaneshia Robinson of Duluth MS
Kevin Rodgers of Mill Creek HS
Angel M. Rodriguez of Kanoheda ES
Frank Rodriguez of Stripling ES
Joe Sanfilippo of Corley ES
James Scarboro of Crews MS
Genna Sengstacke of Meadowcreek HS
Paula A. Skinner of Collins Hill HS
Tina Smosny of Berkmar HS
Brittany Spence of Jackson ES
Amy Steinberg of Norcross ES
John Stith of Chattahoochee ES
Karon Stocks of Benefield ES
Deborah Stringfellow of Crews MS
Heather Tack of Berkeley Lake ES
Kim Tisdale of Woodward Mill ES
Nicole Tomlinson of Annistown ES
Mary Tran of Richards MS
Rebecca Trollinger of Jenkins ES
Syreeta Ward of Curriculum and Instruction
Barbara Watkins of Dacula MS
Ashley B. Watson of Collins Hill HS
Steve White of Mountain View HS

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GCPS names eighth class of Aspiring Principal Program
GCPS selected 20 school leaders to participate in the eighth class of the district’s Quality-Plus Leader Academy (QPLA) Aspiring Principal Program (APP). These leaders will receive the training and support needed to better prepare them for a principal position in Gwinnett. Once each month, academy members participate in nine hours of instruction led by system leaders. This instruction includes case studies, team activities, and simulations. While in training, APP cohort members also participate in a required 90-day residency program, working with a current school principal. This GCPS leadership development initiative is funded through a grant from The Wallace Foundation.

The APP members for the Class of 2013-14 are:
Class of 2013-14 - Cohort VIII
Nathan Ballantine of North Gwinnett HS*
Tamika Beck of Ferguson ES
Derek Bowen of Archer HS
Laura Callahan of Freeman’s Mill ES
Ellyce Cone of Winn Holt ES
Kara Dutton of Peachtree ES*
Kimberly Dyer of Lawrenceville ES
Martha Finnegan of Berkmar HS
Dr. Scott Frandsen of Hull MS
George Kashella of Cooper ES
Kimberly Kennedy of Taylor ES
Karen Lillard of Beaver Ridge ES*
Melissa Madsen of Britt ES
Kassia Morris-Sutton of Trip ES
Marketa Myers of Benefield ES
Shane Orr of Grayson HS
Reginald Parrish of Grace Snell MS
Brian Walker of Woodward Mill ES
Pamela Williams of Bethesda ES*
Dr. Kevin Wood of Central Gwinnett HS

Several members of the class (marked with an asterisk) have been selected as principals since the class was named, and their new location is reflected.
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Need-to-know highlights in Spotlight:
Learn more about…
  • System, School, and Staff Honors

  • Degrees

  • Presentations

  • Publications

  • Participants, and

  • Grants/Scholarships.

  • Something to celebrate?


  • Click here to return to top.
    System, School, and Staff Honors
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools The school district’s quality schools were among factors cited for Suwanee being named one of Family Circle’s 10 Best Towns for Families.
  • Parkview HS Marine Corps JROTC— selected as a Naval Honor School by the Commanding General Training and Education Command. Major Ronald Tootle, USMC retired, and Gunnery Sgt. Dave Erwin, USMC retired, serve as instructors.
  • Garin Berry of Mountain View HS— honored with a 2013 Yale Educator Award.
  • Kenneth Mims of Snellville MS— selected as a Hope Street Group 2014 National Teacher Fellow. He is one of only 13 educators nationwide
    to be invited to participate in this fellowship program and is this year’s representative from Georgia.
  • Roland Ventura of Pinckneyville MS and Lee Newman and Jessie Matthews of Norcross HS— received the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence Award.
  • Dana Griffith of Berkmar MS— honored as Georgia’s Advisor of the Year for Fuel Up to Play 60.
  • Tracey Rivers of Winn Holt ES— recognized as the Georgia Science Teachers Association’s 2014 Elementary Science Teacher of the Year.
  • Amber Arnold of Level Creek ES— received the Georgia Art Education Association Service Inside the Organization Award for being the Collage magazine co-editor for the past five years.
  • Dr. Robert Patrick of Parkview HS— honored as the Southern Conference on Language Teaching Regional Teacher of the Year, and was a finalist for 2013 National Language Teacher of the Year.
  • Chuck Arnold of Collins Hill HS— recognized as the featured trumpet performer for the soundtrack of a film shown before the 2014 Super Bowl. Proceeds from the sales of the soundtrack benefited the Wounded Warrior Project. The film featured celebrities and sports stars reciting the Declaration of Independence.
  • Barry Gillespie of Collins Hill HS— honored as the Georgia Chapter Advisor of the Year. The Collins Hill HS Technology Student Association Chapter was recognized as the Georgia Chapter of Excellence.
  • Dr. Frances Davis, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Talent Management— honored with a Public Service Award by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
  • James Rayford, Director of Academic Support— selected by The Men of Beta Lambda Lambda Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., to be the 2013 recipient of their Frederick “Ty” Carter Citizen of the Year award for his work in the Community-Based Mentoring Program.
  • Mountain View HS recognized as the President’s School for the Southern Association of Student Councils for 2014. Laura Droms and Kristin Murphy serve as Student Council Advisors. A Mountain View student serves as the group’s regional president this school year.
  • Duluth HS and Shiloh HS honored for sportsmanship with the Georgia High School Association’s (GHSA) 2013 Cooperative Spirit Sportsmanship Award.
  • Duluth HS— earned Industry Certification for its Engineering and Technology Education program in 2013. Tim Hemans (now teaching Business and Technical Education at Mill Creek HS) was recognized for this achievement.
  • Grayson HS— earned Industry Certification for its Marketing Education program, under the direction of Robert O’Keefe.
  • Lanier HS— earned Industry Certification for its Marketing Education program. Marketing Teacher Dawn Wood was recognized for this achievement.
  • North Gwinnett HS earned Industry Certification for its Culinary Arts program, led by Donna Kurdelmeier.
  • Mill Creek HS’ Business Education department, including Faith Davenport, Tom Kutter, Kevin Oglesby, Jarrod Shirley, and John Sorah— successfully completed Industry Certification as recognized by The Society for Human Resource Management and the Georgia Department of Education.
  • Ron Hickman of Richards MS— honored with the Symetra Heroes award, which included a $1,000 donation made to the honoree’s school, tickets to a Falcons game, and other recognition. He was nominated by Atlanta Falcons player Jonathan Massaquoi, a former student.
  • Congratulations to these communities, student-athletes, and coaches for AAAAAA state athletic championships last spring:
    Berkmar HS Boys Soccer team, coached by Tracy Crouch and Jeff Welp and William Torres, assistant coaches;
    Brookwood HS Boys Tennis team, coached by Bill Shields and Kent Doehrman, assistant coach;
    Mill Creek HS Boys Track and Field team, coached by Rik Moore;
    Norcross HS Boys Golf team, coached by Chris Hall and Joe Poplar, assistant coach; and
    Parkview HS Girls Soccer team, coached by Judson Hamby and Mark Leviton, assistant coach.
  • Congratulations to these communities, student-athletes, and coaches for AAAAAA state athletic championships for Fall 2013:
    Archer HS Wrestling team (Duals), coached by Tom Beuglas, head coach, and Tom Beuglas, Sr., Mark Freeman, Keith Jannett, and Kyle McKee, assistant coaches;
    Brookwood HS Boys Cross Country team, coached by Ben Dehnke, head coach, and Joel McLendon and Joe Carter, assistant coaches;
    Collins Hill HS Softball team, coached by Paul Pierce;
    Norcross HS Football team, coached by Keith Maloof;
    Peachtree Ridge HS Co-ed Competition Cheerleading team, coached by Dr. Rob Spencer; and
    Peachtree Ridge HS Girls Cross Country team, coached by Ron Clanton, head coach, and Randy Adams, assistant coach.
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  • Degrees
  • Dr. Todd Clark of Hopkins ES— earned a doctoral degree in Teaching and Learning from Liberty University.
  • Dr. Juanita Daunoy of Meadowcreek ES— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
  • Dr. Kara Lefevre Guy of Cedar Hill ES— earned a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University.
  • Dr. Suzette Henry of Moore MS— earned a doctoral degree in Teacher Leadership from Walden University.
  • Dr. Alicia D. Jackson of Berkmar HS— earned a doctoral degree in Leadership in Educational Administration from Capella University.
  • Dr. Mike Krolak of Creekland MS— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia.
  • Dr. Connie Le of Arcado ES— earned a doctoral degree in Administration Leadership for Teacher Learning from Walden University.
  • Dr. Kelly F. Williams of Benefield ES— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.
  • Margaret Baggett of Hull MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Emily Beckwith of Dyer ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Ali Burrous of Starling ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Amy Cordova of Simpson ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Ernest Dixon of Peachtree Ridge HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Gary Fischer of Cooper ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Whitney Grant of Rockbridge ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Jean Harrison of Mountain View HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Liz Hodapp of Rockbridge ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Stephanie D. Mickens of Stripling ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum Instruction and Management Administration from Nova Southeastern University.
  • Anisa Momin of Minor ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Sean O’Connor of Norcross HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Secondary Education from Georgia Southern University.
  • Kevin Rodgers of Mill Creek HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Jamie Savoie of Hull MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Charlotte Taylor of Minor ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Bridget Thompson of Annistown ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Jackie Thompson of Partee ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Jennifer Weaver of Collins Hill HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Ryan Wilson of Hull MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • Lori Young of Magill ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.
  • David Johnson of Information Management and Technology— earned a master’s degree in Information Security and Assurance from Western Governors University.
  • Reyna O’Leary of North Gwinnett HS— earned a master’s degree of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography from Jacksonville University.

    *In the May 2013 edition of Spotlight, a mention was included for doctoral candidate Sergio Parra in error.
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  • Presentations
  • Ernest Dixon of Peachtree Ridge HS and Denise Zannu of Berkmar MS— presented “Creating Culturally Responsive Classrooms” and “Preparing Students with Disabilities for College” at Georgia’s Institute Designed for the Educating All Students (IDEAS).
  • Kathy Spruiell of Arcado ES— presented “Five Out of Four People Struggle with Fractions” at the 54th Annual Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference.

    The following GCPS educators were presenters at the 2013 Georgia Art Education Association fall conference:
  • Keagan O’Mara of Duluth MS— presented “Art By U 4U: Atlanta’s Gift Economy Artists.”
  • Dr. Jackie Ellett of Duncan Creek ES— presented “Let’s Talk About... Art!”
  • Maryann Craig of Harmony ES— presented “Poster Session.”
  • Lauren Christine Phillips of Nesbit ES— presented “Choice-Based Art in a Traditional Art Room” and “Building a Caring Community through Service-Learning.”
  • Melinda Gram of Nesbit ES— presented “The Art of Blogging: Surviving the First Year Through Social Media and Technology.”
  • Dallas Gillespie of Osborne MS— presented “Perspective is a Snap in Microsoft Paint.”
  • Joyce Dorian of Puckett’s Mill ES— presented “Elementary Elements: A Year Long Elementary Art Curriculum Focused on the Elements in All Grade Levels.”
  • Dr. Aimeé Burgamy of Trickum MS— presented “Tar Paper Animal Portraits: Large-Scale Gallery-Quality Results on a Small-Scale Budget” and “Design Your Own Celtic Knots for Unique One-of-a-Kind 2-D and 3-D Projects.”
  • Joint presentation by Dr. Aimeé Burgamy of Trickum MS, Brittany Brinson of Sweetwater MS, Clair Bertram of McConnell MS, Melissa Mason of Five Forks MS, Katie Vanhoff of North Gwinnett MS, Keagan O’Mara of Duluth MS, and Annie Park of Lanier MS— presented “Inspiring Design with Classroom Management in Mind.”
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  • Publications
  • North Gwinnett HS Draw/Paint students— featured in the September/October edition of Scholastic Magazine in an art lesson submitted by Teacher Debi West.
  • Dr. Wendy Metcalf, Director of School Technology— published research, titled “Technology Leadership Preparedness: Principals’ Perceptions,” in The Journal of Research in Education, (Vol. 23, No. 1) in Spring 2013.
  • Laura Magner of Lilburn MS— published SCAMPER Revisited: From Imagery to Artifacts.
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  • Participants
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools— collected 172,500 items of canned food and household staples during the October 2013 Gwinnett Great Days of Service.
  • The North Gwinnett MS Honor Orchestra, directed by Sarah Black, Amy Clement, and Bo Na— participated in the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the world's largest instrumental music education conference.
  • Frank Folds of Crews MS— serving a two-year term as President of the Georgia Music Educators Association.
  • Congratulations are in order for the following GCPS administrators named to the Leadership Gwinnett Class of 2014: Dr. Jeff Hall of Maxwell HS of Technology, Clayborn Knight of Nesbit ES, Jay Nebel of Creekland MS, Kerensa Wing of Collins Hill HS, and Angie Wright of Craig ES.
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  • Grants/Scholarships

  • Maxwell HS of Technology received a $50,000 grant from Atlanta I-CAR for excellence in collision repair education.
  • Shiloh HS received a $25,000 grant from Primerica for support of the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology received a $20,000 grant from the Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation to support the school’s all-girls robotics team, the RoboDragons.
  • Stripling ES— received a $15,000 grant from the school’s business partner, Corus360 Cares, and the Georgia Compassion Project.
  • GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc.— received a donation of $10,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation to support students learning English.
  • GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc.— received a donation of $7,000 from the Waffle House Foundation to support the Gwinnett Heat adapted sports team.
  • Debbie Daniell, Director of Social Studies— received a travel scholarship from EF Educational Tours to attend a Global Student Leaders Summit in China.
  • Trickum MS received a $7,000 grant from Nordson Corporation Foundation for technology to support writing.
  • Harris ES received the Lowe’s Educational Grant for $5,000 to help fund playground equipment for the school.
  • Knight ES and Winn Holt ES each received a $3,500 grant from Captain Planet Foundation. As Captain Planet Foundation Learning Gardens schools, they will receive support to maintain their school gardens.
  • Peachtree ES received the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant for $5,000 for refurbishing and resurfacing the school’s track.
  • Lawrenceville ES received a $3,000 grant from The Resurgens Charitable Foundation Board to help provide playground equipment accessible for children with disabilities and special needs.
  • Dyer ES— received a $2,500 grant through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
  • Maxwell HS of Technology— received a donation of $2,000 from the Georgia Collision Industry Association to help purchase equipment and supplies.
  • Beaver Ridge ES received the Kroger Earning Plus Learning grant for $1,800, celebrating the school’s continuous commitment to supporting its diverse cultural population.
  • Lovin ES received a $1,000 grant from Walmart to fund sensory equipment.
  • Rockbridge ES received a $1,000 grant from Walmart for library books.
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology received a $625 grant from the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.
  • Meadowcreek Cluster— received donations from Walmart’s ‘Fill the Bus’ holiday drive to benefit families in need.
  • Anderson-Livsey ES, Kanoheda ES, Nesbit ES, Rockbridge ES, Lilburn MS, Radloff MS, and Meadowcreek HS— received age-appropriate backpacks filled with school supplies for their students, donated by United Stationers of Suwanee and Variety-The Children’s Charity of Georgia.
  • Beaver Ridge ES and Ferguson ES received school supplies collected by members of the Georgia United Credit Union.
  • Beaver Ridge ES, Norcross ES, Peachtree ES, Simpson ES, Pinckneyville MS, and Summerour MS— received school supplies collected by the Norcross Cluster Schools Partnership’s annual Stuff the Bus Campaign.
  • Bethesda ES, Jenkins ES, Winn Holt ES, and Woodward Mill ES— received school supplies through Atlanta Falcon Sean Weatherspoon’s Spoonful of Hope Foundation.
  • Britt ES, Chesney ES, and Central Gwinnett HS— received school supplies collected through Big Lots’ Lots to Give program.
  • Sycamore ES received school supplies from Star 94.
  • Kudos to the following Gwinnett educators awarded Career Advancement Scholarships from Peach State Federal Credit Union: Melissa Biegler of Anderson-Livsey ES. Vanessa Bronkema of Richards MS, Brian DeLong of Grayson HS, Alicia Grady of Hooper Renwick School, Ann Hamner of Britt ES, Alexis Pickett of McConnell MS, Kimone Russell of McConnell MS, Sherri Thomas of Oakland Meadow School, Danelle Turcotte of Dyer ES, and Cassidy Vance of Peachtree ES.




  • Before and after: top photo shows Peachtree ES
    track prior to renovation and the gratifying results,
    with special thanks to Lowe’s.

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    Something to Celebrate?
    Share your good news with your colleagues in the Spotlight publication. If you have earned a state or national award, earned a degree, made a presentation, or had work published, send the information to the Spotlight mailbox via Lotus Notes, or to the Communication and Media Relations department through the courier. Click here to send all submissions to Spotlight. The deadline for spring semester kudos is April 18, 2014. Honors received after that date will be included in the first issue of the 2014-15 school year.
    Share your feedback on Spotlight!

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        Last modified on 03/13/2014