Volume 10 , Number 2November 15, 2017


This issue recognizes honors from early Sept. through early fall.

GCPS' Karen Hallford earns Silver Spirit Award in national FAME honors for school nutrition professionals
Karen Halford, MS, RD, LD, Assistant Director of the School Nutrition Program, was honored with the Silver Spirit Award at the 29th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence Awards competition. The award will be presented at the 2018 School Nutrition Industry Conference on Jan. 21, 2018.
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Special Education’s McNair earns state honor as parent mentor
Gwinnett County Parent Mentor Jackie McNair has been named recipient of the 2017 Phil Pickens Award. The award acknowledges the hard work and contributions of a parent mentor who has dedicated his or her career to improving the educational and postsecondary outcomes of students with disabilities and guiding the work of special education school staff and parents.The Phil Pickens Award is named after the late Phil Pickens who served as state director of the Georgia Department of Education Special Services Department and founded the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership.
Ms. McNair was recognized for her efforts within Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) as well as on a regional and state level. Every parent mentor is the caregiver of a child who has a disability. Ms. McNair, who is a long-time advocate involved in disability-related organizations and programs, is informed by the needs of her own family and those she serves.

Jackie McNair stands with her award.
Ms. McNair has passion for her work saying, “Working with families has been the highlight of my career. During my years as a mentor, I’ve been instrumental in creating and developing several workshops, to teach parents about special education and how to be involved effectively in their schools and communities.” 
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GCPS’ Fran Overdyke honored as GASN School Nurse of the Year
Fran Overdyke has been named School Nurse of the Year by the Georgia Association of School Nurses (GASN). Through this award, the GASN recognizes nurses who have demonstrated excellence in school nursing services. Ms. Overdyke, who has been a nurse for more than a decade and a half, says she appreciates the honor.
     “There are so many talented and dedicated school nurses in GCPS, so I am very honored to receive the award,” Ms. Overdyke said. She added, “I love what I do and I can honestly say it’s the best nursing job I’ve ever had and I learn new things all the time. I am motivated by the needs of our students, their families, and the staff in our schools. We are such a large system and the needs are many and varied.” Ms. Overdyke is the second GCPS nurse to win the award in the last three years. Ms. Joanne Giel won the award in 2015.
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Four earn state kudos from Georgia School Counselor Association
The Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA) community is proud to recognize and honor exemplary contributions to school counseling. The GSCA awards are bestowed upon deserving individuals annually in recognition of outstanding commitment to, performance in and support of school counseling.
A round of applause is in order for the following GCPS counselors:

GSCA School Counselor
of the Year
Samela Tucker Reid of Parkview HS
GSCA Supervisor of the Year Penny Palmer Young of Arcado ES
GSCA Emerging Leader AwardLaura Ross of Five Forks MS
GSCA Writing AwardSimone Sheppard of Rosebud ES

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Three GCPS educators among 10 honorees in AJC Celebrating Teachers program
Angela Gray of Baggett ES, Kari Parlier of Duncan Creek ES, and Jim Reason of Duluth HS have been recognized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) for their positive impact on students’ lives and the local community. The educators have been named AJC Celebrating Teachers Award winners. They are among a select group of 10 educators who were honored at
a celebratory evening event.
From left to right: Angela Gray of Baggett ES, Kari Parlier of Duncan Creek ES,
and Jim Reason of Duluth HS
The honorees, chosen by a panel of four academic leaders representing Georgia’s local universities and professional education standards, specialize in a variety of fields, including English literature, computer science, physical education, music, and more. They appeared in a special commemorative edition of the AJC.
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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
  • School Nutrition Program earned the Golden Radish Award for farm to school accomplishments by Georgia's Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Public Health, and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Georgia Organics.
  • Greg Marr of Mill Creek HS— recognized by the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a recipient of the 2017 Yale Educator Award.
  • Christy Battle and Jeannie Lanio, both of Lanier HS honored with the 2017 Jim Steele Green Educator of the Year Award for Lanier HS.
  • Maxwell HS of Technology featured in a new trade-focused video series called Great Georgia Jobs.” Maxwell is included in Episode 2 of the series, starting at the 10:15 mark.
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  • Degrees

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    Presentations
  • Cara Norton of Collins Hill HS— speaker at Southern Business Education Association (SBEA) Leadership Development Seminar
  • Dr. William Cossen of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology gave an invited talk, “Catholicism, Americanism, and Religious Liberty: A Church and Culture in Tension,” as the inaugural speaker for the STM Coffeehouse at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Decatur, Georgia, on September 10, 2017. Dr. Cossen also appeared as a guest historian on the podcast, Creative Tension: The Jim Crow Years .
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  • Publications
  • Kudos to Dr. William Cossen of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology for publishing the following articles:
    published two book reviews in Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion: a review of Barry Hankinss book, Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President, and a review of Jenna Weissman Joselits book, Set in Stone: America's Embrace of the Ten Commandments.

    published an online article, Historiographic Saints, in Religion in American History: A Group Blog on Religion in American Culture and History.

    published an online article, Total Eclipse of the Past, appeared on the Society for U.S. Intellectual Blog.

    co-authored an article with Erin Bartram, A Group of Catholics Has Charged Pope Francis with Heresy: Here's Why That Matters in The Washington Post on October 16, 2017.

    published a book review of Caroline B. Brettells Following Father Chiniquy: Immigration, Religious Schism, and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Illinois appeared in American Nineteenth Century History, vol. 18, no. 3 (Oct. 2017), pp. 300-301.

    his article, Blood, Honor, Reform, and God: Anti-Dueling Associations and Moral Reform in the Old South, has been accepted for a forthcoming issue of the peer-reviewed journal, American Nineteenth Century History.

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  • Participants

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    Grants/Donations/Scholarships
  • Beaver Ridge ES— selected for $85,000 KaBOOM! playground community build, partnering with Newell Brands.
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology earned $30,000 Arconic Foundation grant to build innovation lab
  • Meadowcreek HS— earned $20,000 FIRST grant to support robotics, coding, and STEM education in Cluster.
  • Congratulations to the following educators for earning Bright Ideas Grants awarded by Jackson EMC for their MS projects:

    SchoolAwardedEducatorProject
    Berkmar MS$500.00Erin Corrigan-SmithLanguage Arts Manipulatives
    Berkmar MS$1,560.00Jim RobersonSigning Savvy
    Berkmar MS$1,250.00Rainey BakerBreakOut EDU Boxes
    Coleman MS$1,944.00Sheila HarmonyKinetic Sculptures & Animatronics
    Creekland MS$2,000.00Dr. Anthony PiazzaWind Turbine Science
    Dacula MS$2,000.00Liliana Tamas3D Printing Integration
    Dacula MS$800.00Elizabeth WallA Place to Shine Literacy Program
    Hull MS$2,000.00Joe HerbertTheater and Film Odyssey
    Hull MS$2,000.00Kari SalomonEnergy Model Communities
    Jordan MS$1,467.00Jennifer DaSilvaRollercoaster of Energy
    McConnell MS$1,137.00Kristin BergstromAeroponic Tower
    Radloff MS$2,000.00Julie WilkersonSolar Cars to Solar Lives
    Sweetwater MS$1,961.00 J. Antoine ShadePlants + Technology = Future
    Sweetwater MS$625.00Alicia PerkinsHoly Crepe!
    Sweetwater MS$1,950.00James MitchellSTEAM Robotics in Engineering
    Twin Rivers MS$1,326.00Kim ChristmanMobile Green Room
    Twin Rivers MS$1,996.00Andrew CoxThe Unseen World of Energy
    Twin Rivers MS$1,700.00Abby ThurstonInteractive Microscope Investigations
  • 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 October deadline will be part of the next issue. Click here to send all submissions to Spotlight. The deadline is Feb. 10.
    Share your feedback on Spotlight!

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        Last modified on 11/09/2017