Volume 10 , Number 1September 8, 2017


This issue recognizes honors from early May through back-to-school.

Meadowcreek’s Welch named national finalist
Dr. Tommy Welch, principal of Meadowcreek HS, has been named as one of three finalists for 2018 National Principal of the Year. He and the other finalists will be recognized at the 2017 NASSP Principals Institute in Washington, D.C., later this month. The National Principal of the Year will be announced in October during National Principals Month.

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Brookwood HS’ Wilson named ‘Hero of Collaboration’
in 2017 national School Librarian of the Year Awards


Jan Wilson of Brookwood HS recently received national recognition as a hero for work in her role as a library professional. For the first time ever, Scholastic Library Publishing honored four librarians as "Heroes" for outstanding performance. Wilson, who was Georgia’s 2016 Media Specialist of the Year, earned the title of Hero of Collaboration for her efforts to build her school library into the “Learning Commons”— a place of collaboration, creativity, and opportunity.

Whether she is partnering with local businesses to plan book distribution events, organizing community fund raising, mentoring new librarians, working with the GCPS Book Mobile, or collaborating with teachers to implement supportive school programs, Wilson utilizes her more than 20 years of experience as a school librarian to empower everyone around her.

Jan Wilson stands in the Brookwood HS
“Learning Commons.”

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GCPS earns national award for best practices in purchasing for third year
Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) has been awarded the 2017 Achievement of Excellence in Procurement® (AEP) from the National Procurement Institute, Inc. (NPI). The AEP Award is earned by public organizations that obtain a high score based on standardized criteria. The honor is awarded annually to recognize Innovation, Professionalism, E-Procurement, Productivity, and Leadership in the procurement function. This is the third consecutive year that GCPS has earned the award.

The AEP program encourages the development of excellence as well as continued organizational improvement to earn the award annually. For 2017, 204 applicants were successful in their bid for the award, including 48 counties, 68 cities, 25 higher education agencies, 26 school districts, 25 special districts, and 12 state agencies.

The Purchasing and Property Management department, led by DirectorMatthew Mills, is made up of a team of procurement professionals. Gwinnett County Public Schools is one of only 13 government agencies in Georgia and one of only 26 school districts in the United States to receive the award.
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Brookwood HS’ Simmons earns nod from National Council of Teachers of English
Dr. Amber Simmons, a language arts teacher at Brookwood HS, has been named a 2017 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) High School Teacher of Excellence Award winner. The award recognizes and celebrates excellent high school teachers. Dr. Simmons is the only Georgia teacher to receive the award and one of only 15 winners nationwide. The Brookwood HS teacher earned the honor after she was named the 2017 Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE) High School Teacher of the Year last spring.
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Shiloh MS authorized for International Baccalaureate (IB)
Shiloh MS has been certified as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, for a three-year Middle Years Programme. IB World Schools feature programmes of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills needed to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

Dr. Eli Welch, principal, is excited about what the certification means. “After three years of research, planning, and training, we have been approved and that is great news for our students, parents, and staff,” he said. “The IB program is a tremendous teaching tool and that will help prepare our students for our rapidly changing world.”    

Schools must be authorized, by the IB organization to offer any of its programmes. To this end, the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, also can be right.

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Counseling programs earn national honors
Last spring, North Gwinnett MS, Duluth HS, and Parkview HS earned the national Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation, while Roberts ES, Jones MS, and Peachtree Ridge HS “re-RAMPed,” earning the designation for a second time. Every three years, schools are required to “re-RAMP” to retain this certification.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) awards this designation to schools that are committed to delivering comprehensive data-driven school counseling programs. Gwinnett now has 28 counseling departments that are recipients of the RAMP National Award.
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Southern Regional Education Board honors Meadowcreek HS, principal
Meadowcreek HS was recognized with the Outstanding High Schools That Work Award from the Southern Regional Education Board at the 31st Annual High Schools That Work (HSTW) Staff Development Conference in Nashville during July. In addition, Dr. Tommy Welch, the school’s principal, was named Outstanding HSTW Administrator.

With 3,215 students, Meadowcreek U, as the school refers to its academy model, is divided into five career-themed academies. After three years of implementing the guiding principles and practices of the High Schools That Work comprehensive school reform model, Meadowcreek increased its graduation rate more than 20%, while also raising ACT and SAT average composite scores. Dr. Welch assumed leadership at Meadowcreek HS at a critical time and transformed the school into a collaborative environment in which students and teachers shoulder responsibility for learning through strong engagement.

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Three earn state honors for language instruction
  • Congratulations are in order to Ashley Allgood of Brookwood HS on being named 2017 Georgia Latin Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Classical Association. The award is presented to a member of the association who is distinguished as a teacher of Latin through the performance of students and through exceptional efforts to enhance the teaching of Latin in the state of Georgia.
  • Jamie Vega of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, a Spanish teacher, was selected as the 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • A round of applause goes to Lesa Howell of South Gwinnett HS, honored as the 2017 K-12 Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) Teacher of the Year. Ms. Howell, who teaches Spanish, will advance to the regional level and represent the Southeast Region for consideration for the honor of Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) Teacher of the Year during the SCOLT conference in Atlanta in March, 2018.
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  • CTE groups recognize GCPS staff
  • Kudos to Max Chavez of Maxwell HS of Technology, named 2017 Teacher of the Year by the Trade and Industrial Educators of Georgia (TIEGA). Mr. Chavez has been a maintenance and light repair automotive services instructor for six years at Maxwell. The TIEGA honor qualified Mr. Chavez for consideration as the state’s top career and technical education (CTE) teacher. He currently serves as the Transportation Cluster Coach for GCPS, and is the Vice President for the TIEGA Board of Directors. In 2014, Mr. Chavez was named the TIEGA New Teacher of the Year.
  • Andrea Barrett of Mountain View HS was named 2017 Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Marketing Association. The award is reserved for teachers who make an impact on both their local school and the community through excellent career and technical education programs. Like Max Chavez of Maxwell HS of Technology, Ms. Barrett also was a nominee for the top state honor for CTE teachers. She has been a marketing education teacher in GCPS for nine years, spending the last eight years at Mountain View. She also is the advisor for DECA— a co-curricular organization for students interested in careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management— and she supports Bear Necessities, the Mountain View HS store.
  • Jody Reeves, executive director of Academies and Career and Technical Education, was named 2017 Administrator of the Year by the Georgia Technology Student Association. Since March 2016, Ms. Reeves has been recognized with the Administrator of the Year Award by three different Career and Technical Student Organizations— Future Business Leaders of America; Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, and now the Technology Student Association
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  • State recognizes school district’s STEM, STEAM schools
    The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has awarded Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Certification to Lanier MS and Mason ES. The GaDOE also has issued Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Certification to Coleman MS. Mason ES and Coleman MS were awarded school certifications while Lanier’s Teamwork With Innovative Skills and Technology (TWIST) program earned a program certification.

    GCPS now has seven schools that have earned STEM or STEAM Certification. Lanier HS’ Center for Design and Technology (CDAT) program as well as Peachtree Ridge HS’ STEM Program for Innovation, Rigor and Excellence (SPIRE) previously earned STEM Program Certification. GSMST and White Oak ES previously earned STEM School Certification. Later this month, the U.S. Department of Education Green Schools tour will visit Mason ES and Pharr ES as part of its Green Strides Tour. Mason ES is a 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, while Pharr ES is a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.
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    GCPS schools sweep level honors for exceptional
    Georgia Library Media Programs for 2017

    The Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA) and Georgia Library Association (GLA) recognized and honored the following three schools as exceptional Georgia Library Media Programs:
    Level winner
    School
    HS
    Peachtree Ridge HS
    (Joni Gilman, media specialist)
    MS
    Jones MS
    (Maile Steimer, media specialist)
    ES
    Ivy Creek ES
    (Kimberly Sharp, media specialist)

    The Judy Serritella Exemplary/Exceptional Library Media Program was created to recognize those library media programs that empower students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information both in vision and in practice. Exceptional library media programs are ones that demonstrate these characteristics in a consistent and effective manner. Exemplary library media programs go one step beyond and are a model for innovation, student empowerment, and leadership in the school library community.
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    GCPS educators achieve metro Atlanta honors
    In the spring, Sherry Aglietti, a Science teacher at Bay Creek MS, and Soo Son, who taught 3rd grade at Suwanee ES and now teaches 4th grade this year, were named 2017 Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE) winners. Both educators received $7,500 that includes funds for innovative classroom projects ($3,500), professional development ($1,500), and personal stipends ($2,500). Ms. Aglietti and Ms. Son were honored for their work in improving student achievement, promoting student self-esteem, and collaborating with community stakeholders.
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    GCPS honors winners of 2016-17 Safety and Security Awards
    The school districts Office of Safety and Security recognized several School Resource Officers and staff members at its 2016-17 school year awards ceremony. The following awards were presented to commended employees for their work during the school year:Pictured left to right: Officer Mark Woytek, Wanda Thompson, and Officer Lebron Smith.

    Officer of the Year: Officer Lebron Smith
    Officer Lebron Smith currently is assigned as a school resource officer at Norcross HS. During his brief tenure with GCPS, he has started his own mentoring program for students at the school. Officer Smith often spends his own money to purchase items for the students participating in the program. He also won the Norcross HS’ “We Believe in You” award after just three months at the school.

    Civilian of the Year: Wanda Thompson
    Ms. Thompson serves as the dispatch supervisor and clerk for the North Zone. She handles scheduling for the 24-hour dispatch center and processes all paperwork for officers assigned to the North Zone. In addition, Ms. Thompson helps coordinate the Safety and Security Relay For Life team and produces the department newsletter.

    Lifesaving Award: Officer Mark Woytek
    In July 2016, Officer Mark Woytek was off-duty and helping his wife at her job. He encountered a male who had overdosed on drugs. With the assistance of another person, Officer Woytek performed CPR and saved his life.
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    Teachers As Leaders recognizes 40 participants
    The 27th Teachers As Leaders (TAL) Class of 2017-18 includes 40 Gwinnett educators as participants:
    Teachers As Leaders Class of 2017-18
    Kelsey Anderson of Nesbit ES
    Micheal Barron of Chesney ES
    LaTasha Boynton of Kanoheda ES
    Tamara Brooks of Discovery HS
    Adam Brown of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
    Jennifer Callaway of Archer HS
    Candace Chenoweth of Lanier MS
    Heather Coffey of Jones MS
    April Connor of Stripling ES
    Deborah Creekmore of Ferguson ES
    Hailey Dellinger of Suwanee ES
    Shawna Desrosiers of Berkmar MS
    LaVica Edwards of Coleman MS
    Portia Felder of Bay Creek MS
    Dr. Lisa-Renée Gilford Aniagor
    of Summerour MS
    Lisa Hamilton of Pinckneyville MS
    Natalie Hammond of Jenkins ES
    Ashley Healey of Walnut Grove ES
    Allison Hines of Creekland MS
    Mareka Humphrey-Wilcox of Sweetwater MS
    Kerry Jolley of Head MS
    Frank Jones of McConnell MS
    Ryan Keefer of Collins Hill HS
    Chrissy Krejci of Norcross HS
    Charleaze Langley of Dacula ES
    Jennifer Lee of Parsons ES
    Jennifer Manders of Starling ES
    Katie Massey of North Gwinnett HS
    Rhonda Perry of Shiloh MS
    Amanda Powell of Harris ES
    Athena Roberts of Mulberry ES
    Michelle Ruhl of Sugar Hill ES
    Kari Salomon of Hull MS
    Shabina Serajee of Winn Holt ES
    Andrea Sims of Graves ES
    Rebecca Smith of Ivy Creek ES
    Deirdre Thurman of McKendree ES
    Sheryl Tolar of Level Creek ES
    Stacey Willis of Alcova ES
    Janet Zawacki of Rock Springs ES

    The purpose of Teachers As Leaders is to help participants develop personal and organizational leadership skills for classrooms and local schools. Participants are selected based on an application process, nominations from their principals, and identification 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.
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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.


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    System, School, and Staff Honors
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools— recognized as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the U.S.
  • Congratulations to the following schools named with the designation of 2017 National Beta School of Merit:

    Alcova ES
    Anderson-Livsey ES
    Archer HS
    Brookwood HS
    Central Gwinnett HS
    Cooper ES

    Creekland MS
    Jones MS
    Grace Snell MS
    Graves ES
    Lawrenceville ES
    Winn Holt ES
    Mill Creek HS
    Moore MS
    Peachtree Ridge HS
    Shiloh HS
    Simonton ES
    Sycamore ES
  • Karen Garner of Couch MS named 2017 Metro District Library Media Specialist of the Year.
  • Cindy Apley Rose of Couch MS— featured in Destined for Greatness,” the eighth installment of the “Real Teachers Real Voices” campaign, unveiled by Gov. Nathan Deal in conjunction with the Governors Office of Student Achievement.
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  • Degrees
  • Dr. Toni Ferguson of Knight ES— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University.
  • Dr. Heather A. Keilwitz of Meadowcreek HS— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Studies with a specialization in Adult Learning and Development from the Lesley University.
  • Dr. Angelique Mitchell of Ferguson ES— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University.
  • Dr. Dana Pugh of Grayson HS— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University.
  • Dr. Andrew B. Spires of Parkview HS— earned a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Secondary Mathematics from Georgia State University.
  • Dr. Donna Springer of Mill Creek HS— earned a doctoral degree in Education from Piedmont College.
  • Heather Miller of Sugar Hill ES— earned a master of business administration degree in Finance from Brenau University.
  • Shannon Rolin of Coleman MS— earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Georgia Southern University.
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  • Presentations
  • Staci Gelbaum of Baggett ES— presented “Creating Global Collaborators in the Special Needs Classroom using SMART Technologies” at the British Educational Training and Technology Show in London, the Texas Computer Education Association Conference in Austin, and the International Society for Technology in Education National Conference in San Antonio.
  • A round of applause is in order for the following educators for their presentations at the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT):
    Holly Brodnax of Grayson HS and Laura Droms of Mountain View HS: “Transformational Teaching: Let’s get digital”
    Lesa Howell of South Gwinnett HS: “I Need Stuff - Fast, Easy, and Cheap”
    Deanne King of Dacula HS: “Fun Activities for the Foreign Language Classroom”
    Dr. Robert Patrick of Parkview HS: “Learn a Language Through Comprehensible Input”
    Keith Toda of Parkview HS: “Detoxing from the Textbook”
  • Congratulations to the following educators for their presentations at the recent Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) conference, where GCPS presenters represented 20% of all sessions and workshops:
    Melanie Hutsell of Peachtree Ridge HS: “Because Language is not a Spectator Sport”
    Cindy Mollard of Peachtree Ridge HS: “Developing Cultural Proficiency through (Engaging and Flexible) Routine”
    Lesa Howell of South Gwinnett HS: “Trash to Treasures”
    Nedra Curtis and Jennifer Grobeck of Discovery HS: “Warm-ups, Practicalities, and Practice”
    Marcia Littlefield of Crews MS: “Help Your Students Go From Anxious to Zen”
    Nicole Courtney of Central Gwinnett HS and Michele Broeg of Archer HS: “Let’s Discuss in the Comments Below!”
    Stephanie Kenemer, Keren Coronado, and Matthew Hunter, all of Norcross HS: “Preparing your Students to Read a Short Novel through Effective Comprehensible Input Strategies”
    Muriel Moore of Peachtree Ridge HS: “Your High School Foreign Language Class Brings Their Language to Elementary Schools”
    Kirsten Nelson of Shiloh HS: “Multi-Level Madness!”
    John Rhilinger of North Gwinnett MS: “Oh, Say, Can You See?: the Visual FL Classroom”
    Virginia T. Smith of Lanier MS and Marcia Littlefield of Crews MS: “Beyond the Book: An Interactive Approach to Language-Learning”
    Mary Meyer of Brookwood HS and Ana Diaz of Chestatee HS: “AP Essay the Easy Way”
    Meredith White of Peachtree Ridge HS and Keith Toda of Parkview HS: “Step-by-Step: Comprehensible Input Starter Kit”
    Dr. Jaime Claymore of Mountain View HS: “Bells and Whistles: Classroom Management in Any FL Classroom”
    Rachel Ash of Parkview HS: “CI Reading: Delivering Understandable Messages”
    Keith Toda of Parkview HS: “Detoxing from the Textbook: Best of FLAG 2016”
    Dr. Robert Patrick of Parkview HS: “Teaching with Comprehensible Input: Delivering Understandable Messages”
    Tom Pickett and Emily Kimball, both of Berkmar HS: “5-Minute Time Fillers and Waker Uppers”
    Miriam Patrick of Parkview HS: “CI Assessments: What Understandable Messages Produce”
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  • Publications
  • Kimberly Bondeson of Gwinnett Online Campus with Anissa Lokey-Vega of Kennesaw State University— published “Innovation in Design of Project-Based Learning for the K-12 Online Context” in the 2017 Conference Papers for the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education.
  • Kimberly Bondeson of Gwinnett Online Campus with Anissa Lokey-Vega of Kennesaw State University— published “Project Based Online Learning: Meeting the Challenge” in PBL Blog.
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  • Participants
  • Allison Adams of Partee ES— served as the Academic Dean for the Summer Institute for the Gifted on Yale Universitys campus.
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  • Grants/Donations/Scholarships
  • Myesha Jenkins of Baggett ES (pictured in left photo) and Sha-Von Valentine of GIVE Center East (pictured in right photo)— each earned a $1,500 scholarship toward graduate studies from the Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association (GCREA). Both educators are shown standing with Beth Thompson, GCREA Teacher Scholarship Chair.
  • Elena Kimbrough of Special Education and Psychological Services earned the Dr. Janice L. Calkins SLP Innovative Practices Scholarship, a one-time stipend of $500 that is awarded to a fully certified GCPS speech language pathologist who has demonstrated exceptional creativity, initiative, and effectiveness leading to an increase in student achievement.
  • Shiloh MS— earned a mini-makeover of its courtyard and selected classrooms through Georgia United Credit Union’s School Crashers program.
  • Dacula ES— received a $200 Teacher Classroom Scholarship from the Dacula Masonic Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons #433.
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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. Items received since the August deadline will be part of the next issue. Click here to send all submissions to Spotlight. The deadline is Oct. 10.
    Share your feedback on Spotlight!

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        Last modified on 09/08/2017