Volume 8 , Number 2March 14, 2016

This issue recognizes late fall and winter honors.

Click here to return to top.
SNP’s Yant earns national FAME award for leadership in school nutrition
Ken Yant, GCPS’ director of School Nutrition, recently received the Silver Star School Nutrition Leadership Award, one of the prestigious Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence Awards presented by the School Nutrition Association at its School Nutrition Industry Conference in San Diego, Calif.
Mr. Yant stands with Mary Begalle of Schwan’s Food Service, Inc. during the award presentation.

The Silver Star Leadership Award is given to a director who demonstrates outstanding leadership, dedication, fiscal achievement, and innovation in menuing and merchandising. Mr. Yant was nominated by Mary Begalle, senior director of industry relations for Schwan’s Food Service, Inc.

“Ken is a visionary who sees the big picture,” says Ms. Begalle. “What makes Ken special is his ability to turn that vision into reality, making him a truly transformational leader. Ken operates one of the most progressive school nutrition programs in the country.”
Click here to return to top.
Brookwood HS’ Quinlan earns national Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year honor
Cindy Quinlan of Brookwood HS was named the 2016 Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Teacher of the Year. The ACTE award recognizes the finest CTE teachers at the middle and secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students, and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities.

Ms. Quinlan pioneered a lean start-up approach in her entrepreneurship classroom where her students must develop a business that can be started within a week and with minimal costs. Twelve viable and profitable student businesses have been launched out of her classroom over the past two years.

Through an entrepreneurship alliance with the city of Snellville, each of these student businesses is provided local entrepreneur mentorship, a specially issued business license, and a chance to earn investment capital by pitching the business to a judging panel. The program has been replicated in eight schools in the county in alignment with Quinlan’s course guide and lessons.
Click here to return to top.
Shiloh HS’ Chrisman earns national recognition
Nancy Chrisman of Shiloh HS was one of 12 educators from schools throughout the United States presented with the 38th Annual Leavey Awards for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education from the Freedoms Foundation. Each teacher received $7,500 in recognition of their creative programs.

Ms. Chrisman, a special education teacher, received this honor for her “Silver Lining Boutique” program. The Silver Lining is a school-based fashion boutique operated by Shiloh HS students. The Silver Lining’s mission is to provide an ongoing work place environment for students in the Community-Based Vocational Senior Class to learn hands-on job skills, work ethics, and entrepreneurial skills. Students start a business from the ground up, developing an entrepreneurial inclination and learning problem solving and team-building skills along the way.
Click here to return to top.
Rick Cost named 2015 Outstanding School Business Official
Gwinnett County Public Schools’ recently retired Chief Financial Officer, Rick Cost, received his profession’s highest honor from the Georgia Association of School Business Officials (GASBO) as the organization recognized him as its 2015 Outstanding School Business Official. Each year at the annual conference, GASBO recognizes an outstanding member who exemplifies professionalism, leadership, and innovation in the field of school business management.
In endorsing Mr. Cost’s nomination for this award, GCPS CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said that Cost is a leader whose vision, expertise, and commitment to financial stewardship have made a difference across the state. He said, “One of the most knowledgeable school finance administrators in Georgia, Mr. Cost is able to communicate the intricacies of the state’s QBE Funding Formula in a clear, concise manner, which has helped countless others better understand how schools in our state and local communities are funded. He frequently assumes the role of teacher, willingly sharing his knowledge and experience in school finance for the benefit of all.” Mr. Cost served as GCPS’ CFO from 2006 through his retirement in December. He returned on Feb. 1 as the district’s part-time director of treasury services.
Click here to return to top.
Collins Hill HS’ Nichols honored as state’s top AP
Dr. Kim Nichols of Collins Hill HS has been named the 2015 Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals’ “Assistant Principal of the Year.” Dr. Nichols will represent Georgia in the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ national competition for NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year. She also will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., this spring for the national program for State Assistant Principal of the Year winners.

Dr. Nichols has served in her current leadership role since 2007 where she has worked as an integral part of the assessment program, assisting teachers in disaggregating data and applying new instructional methods to increase student performance.

“Dr. Nichols works tirelessly to create outstanding learning opportunities for our faculty and staff to improve their instructional practices and our professional learning communities. She also has made a great impression on our students through her work with our student leadership programs. Collins Hill is better school because of her efforts,” says Dr. Kerensa Wing, Principal.
Click here to return to top.
GCPS Educators achieve state kudos
Mike Savage of Curriculum and Instructional Support was honored as the 2015 Gwen Hutcheson Outstanding Education Award winner by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies. Each year, the Council recognizes outstanding educators who demonstrate significant service and foster the development of democratic values and citizenship in the classroom, school, and community; exhibit professional involvement beyond the normal job requirements; demonstrate efforts toward the improvement of student learning in social studies; use multiple sources to enhance social studies instruction; and participate in professional publications and/or conference and/or workshop publications. Mr. Savage was formally recognized by the Gwinnett County Board of Education at its meeting on November 19, 2015.

David Kendrick of Duluth HS was recognized as the 2015 Civil War Trust Teacher of the Year. The Civil War Trust annually presents a Teacher of the Year Award to someone who has shown passion for the study of the Civil War as well as a commensurate passion for passing on his or her knowledge to younger generations. The recipients are often involved in some form of battlefield preservation and view their role in such a capacity as developing the stewards of the next generation of battlefield preservationists.

Michelle Radcliff Mullis of North Gwinnett HS received the 2016 Outstanding Teacher of American History award from the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The award honors notable full-time teachers of history with demonstrated excellence in readily sharing an incisive knowledge of American History, being committed to their students, fostering a spirit of patriotism and loyal support of our country, relating history to modern life and events, and requiring high academic standards at all times from their students.
Click here to return to top.
Peachtree Ridge HS student and teacher earn
Gwinnett STAR honors, advance to region

Peachtree Ridge HS student Priyanka Desai earned the title of Gwinnett 2016 STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) Student, representing Gwinnett County’s public and private schools. Each STAR student is the senior in the top 10 percent of his or her class with the highest SAT score. Miss Desai earned the county title by having the highest SAT scores among the countywide Class of 2016. (Left to right) Priyanka Desai, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, and Nelson Dean.

As part of the recognition, each STAR student selects a teacher as the educator who has had a strong influence on his/her academic career. The Peachtree Ridge senior selected Nelson Dean, who teaches Advanced Placement World History and Advanced Placement European History, as her STAR Teacher.

All of the local STAR Student and Teacher honorees were during the annual STAR Student and Teacher Luncheon. The event celebrates the STAR students from each Gwinnett County high school (public and private) as well as the top student from Buford High (Buford City Schools). As the 2016 Gwinnett County STAR Student and Teacher, Peachtree Ridge High’s Miss Desai and Mr. Dean will now move on and compete for the regional title. Regional winners will then move to the state level for the honor of being named Georgia’s 2016 STAR Student and Teacher.

2016 STAR Students and Teachers
STAR Student
STAR Teacher
Archer HS
John Golden
Jennifer Callaway
Berkmar HS
Mohammad Awan
Brian Barrett
Gary Haynes
Charles Thornton
Brookwood HS
Naisa Rahman
Dana Kling
Central Gwinnett HS
Brian Chea
Lindsay Bates
Collins Hill HS
Catherine Nagy
Sarah Mann (retired)
Dacula HS
Matthew Hamil
Lisa Hursey
Discovery HS
Israel Oluwasakin
Dr. Naderia Wade
Duluth HS
Nicholas "Nick" Bennett
Wendy Maley
Grayson HS
Noah Wilson
Jeremy Mulkey
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Jonathan Jeffrey
Patricia Caldwell
Lanier HS
Savannah Higgins
Tamaiko Chappell
Meadowcreek HS
Plabani Sharif
Jami Poplar
Mill Creek HS
Aria Amthor
Janna Penn
Mountain View HS
Amy Jenkins
Billy Jones
Norcross HS
Nicholas Bunner
Dr. James Glenn
North Gwinnett HS
Mary Truong
Casey Weeks
Parkview HS
Lillian Wang
Phil Heier
Peachtree Ridge HS
*Priyanka Desai
Nelson Dean
Shiloh HS
Noah Solomon
Vincent Tran
South Gwinnett HS
Dazhane Moseley
Michael Dawson

*2016 Gwinnett County STAR Student and Teacher
Click here to return to top.
Collins Hill HS’ Witrick named
GCPS’ Media Clerk of the Year for 2016

Annette Witrick of Collins Hill HS was named 2016 Media Clerk of the Year. The Media Clerk of the Year award honors a media clerk who, through individual leadership and sustained effort, has made worthy contributions to the operations of effective school library programs.

Ms. Witrick was nominated for this honor by Lorraine McCullough, the schools media specialist who credits her colleague with “being a vital asset to the media program.”

With 18 years of media clerk experience, Ms. Witrick helps every patron to the best of her ability. She works tirelessly to get to know the students by name and to understand what they enjoy reading. Annette also supports technology initiatives at the school by assisting students with eCLASS access, helping manage other technology accounts, and processing equipment. As the GCPS Media Clerk of the Year, she will be considered for recognition in the Library Journal’s Paralibrarian of the Year competition. The award, sponsored by DEMCO, recognizes the essential role of paralibrarians in both school and public libraries.
Click here to return to top.
Couch MS’ Williams honored as
GCPS’ 2016 Media Advocate of the Year

Devon Williams, principal at Couch MS, is the recipient of the 2016 GCPS School Library Advocate Award. Mr. Williams was nominated by Karen Garner, media specialist at Couch MS.

Sponsored by Media Services and Technology Training, this award honors administrators outside the library profession who have made worthy contributions to the operations of effective library services in their school and to advancing the role of the school library in the educational program.

The school library media program plays a significant and relevant role in the curriculum at Couch MS. “Mr. Williams has established a school culture where reading is valued and technology use is both encouraged and expected,” says Ms. Garner. “Allocating funds for technology purchases such as student response systems, interactive whiteboard bars, Nooks, and tablets has helped the media program support teaching and learning.” She adds, “Through Mr. Williams leadership, the Couch MS media program has had a positive impact on student achievement.”

As a recipient of the GCPS School Library Advocate Award, Mr. Williams will be nominated by the district for the Distinguished School Administrators Award, sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians.
Click here to return to top.
32 GCPS schools recognized for PBIS implementation
Each year, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) recognizes schools and programs that have created and maintained a positive school climate through the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The GaDOE recently recognized 32 Gwinnett County Public Schools for their hard work and commitment to supporting students through the implementation of PBIS.

“PBIS is NOT a curriculum, intervention, or practice, but IS adecisionmaking framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students,” says Dr. Bob Burgess, director of Student Discipline and Behavioral Interventions.
2014-15 Operational PBIS Schools
Archer HS
Lawrenceville ES
Bethesda ES
Lilburn ES
Cedar Hill ES
McConnell MS
Corley ES
Moore MS
Couch MS
Peachtree ES
Creekland MS
Richards MS
Dacula MS
Simonton ES
Ferguson ES
Snellville MS
Grayson HS
Summerour MS
Hull MS
Sweetwater MS
Jones MS
Trickum MS
2014-15 Emerging PBIS Schools
Anderson-Livsey ES
Mountain View HS
The BRIDGE Program
Partee ES
Duluth MS
Pinckneyville MS
GIVE Center East
Radloff MS
GIVE Center West
Sycamore ES

Click here to return to top.
GCPS salutes counselors, counseling advocates
As part of National School Counseling Week, celebrated in February, GCPS highlighted the key role school counselors play in the academic success and overall well-being of all Gwinnett children. In doing so, the school district named its top counseling professionals of the year.

The 2016 GCPS top counseling professionals and programs are:

2016 Gwinnett County Elementary School Counselor of the Year
Amy O’Neal
of Alcova ES

Left to right: Todd Langley, principal; Amy O'Neal;
Carole Boyce, District I Board Member;
Kia Henley, assistant principal;
and Fabiana Fischer, counselor.

2016 Gwinnett County Middle School Counselor of the Year
Rachel Kusher
of Five Forks MS

Left to right: Director of Advisement and Counseling
Dianne Thompson; Rachel Kusher;
and Christine Douthart, principal.

2016 Gwinnett County Secondary School Counselor of the Year
Kelley Griffin
of Mill Creek HS

Left to right: Dianne Thompson; Kelley Griffin;
and Jason Lane, principal.

2016 Gwinnett County Mary Joe Hannaford
Counselor Administrator of the Year
Dr. Sarah Skinner
, Principal of Radloff MS

Left to right: Dianne Thompson; Dr. Sarah Skinner; and counselors Shamira Pierson Porter,
Ria Opore, and Gizani Maxie.

2016 Legislator of the Year
State Rep. Joyce Chandler
(District 105)

Dianne Thompson presents the award to Dr. Joyce Chandler.

In addition, the district recognizes outstanding, innovative programs that show evidence of counseling program advocacy and goals that use data to guide program design, delivery, and evaluation. These outstanding programs earned the 21st Century Comprehensive Counseling Award:

Arcado ES
—Counselors Alina Ruiz and Ginny Wages
Ivy Creek ES
— Counselors Laura Spencer and Lauren Butler
Grace Snell MS
— Counselors Jennifer Chapman, Tierney Langdon, and Dr. Carol Loveless

This year, a new award was presented at the recognition breakfast. This new recognition was created in response to a change in the state awards program. In 2014, the Georgia School Counselor Association changed its award categories. In doing so, it separated the Counselor Administrator and Counselor Advocate honors into two awards. In Gwinnett, the “counselor advocate” award will bear the name of its first recipient, Louise Radloff, a longtime School Board member who has been a supporter of school counseling and who was a driving force behind the hiring of elementary school counselors in Gwinnett. This award will be given annually to a non-school employee (parent, community member, School Board member, etc.) who supports counseling.

The level winners and other individuals honored by GCPS will compete at the regional level with hopes to advance to state and national competition.

GCPS counselors continue to be among the most recognized with state and national honors. Recent honorees include
Stacey Miller of Roberts ES, a 2016 semifinalist for the national honor; Jennifer Diaz of White Oak ES, a finalist for 2015 National Counselor of the Year; Andrea Hodgin of Lanier MS, a semifinalist for the 2015 national honor; and Robin Zorn of Mason ES, who was the 2014 National School Counselor of the Year.
Click here to return to top.

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
  • Lanier MS, Sweetwater MS, and Summerour MS named 2015 Breakout Schools by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. Sweetwater MS and Summerour MS also earned the title of Distinguished Breakout Middle School which came with a monetary award of $1,000.
  • CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks— honored by The University of Georgia, College of Education, with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Donor Appreciation and Alumni Awards.
  • David McCleskey, Governmental Liaison/Community Ombudsman— recognized by The Boy Scouts of America’s Northeast Georgia Council at the 2016 Gwinnett American Values Dinner.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Degrees
  • Dr. Maxine Amritt of Shiloh HS— earned a doctoral degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University.
  • Dr. Angelyne Collins of Shiloh HS— earned a doctoral degree in Language and Literacy Education from the University of Georgia.
  • Dr. Jimmie L. McKinley of Meadowcreek HS— earned a doctoral degree in Education with a specialization in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning from Walden University.
  • Dr. Kelly Scarborough, Principal of Rockbridge ES earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University.
  • Dr. Erik Schmitt of Riverside ES— earned a doctoral degree in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from the University of Georgia.
  • Dr. Sharissa Seymour, Assistant Principal of Mountain Park ES earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University.
  • Melanie Wible of Kanoheda ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Media from the University of West Georgia.
  • LaShawn Bridges of Ferguson ES— earned a master of arts degree in Education with a specialization in Family and Community Services from Ashford University.
  • Kirsten Nelson of Shiloh HS— earned a master’s degree in German Language Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Caitlin Ronne of Jenkins ES— earned a master’s degree in Science in Mathematics and Reading from Walden University.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Presentations
  • Dr. Bob Burgess, Director of Student Discipline and Behavioral Interventions— presented “District Exemplars of PBIS Implementation” at the National Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Leadership Forum, which is organized for school, district, state, or regional leadership teams adopting and implementing schoolwide PBIS programs.
  • Dr. Dana Edwards of Gwinnett Online Campus— presented “Goals of Misbehavior: Adlerian Principles and Techniques to Encourage a Climate of Cooperation” at the Georgia Society of Adlerian Psychology at Kennesaw State University.
  • Suzanne Skeen and Jan Wilson of Information Management and Technology— presented “21st Century Media Center, Learning Styles, Mobility, and Collaboration” at the 2015 Teacher Leader Academy in the Muscogee County School District.
  • William Cossen of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology presented “ ‘When Al Smith Is President’: The Protestant Other and the Politics of Anti-Catholicism in the 1928 Presidential Election” at a panel at the American Catholic Historical Association.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Publications
  • Clayborn Knight, Principal of Graves ES featured in the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ November/December 2015 issue of Principal Magazine.
  • William Cossen of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology published the following: “Education in the Name of the Lord: The Rise and Decline of the Hartford Diocesan Labor Institute and the Fate of Catholic Labor Schools” in The Catholic Historical Review; “Catholic Gatekeepers: The Church and Immigration Reform in the Gilded Age and Progessive Era,” in U.S. Catholic Historian;and a review of James M. Woods in “A History of the Catholic Church in the American South, 1513-1900” in The South Carolina Historical Magazine.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Participants
  • Cindy Antrim and Cora Graves, J.D., of Student Discipline and Behavioral Interventions— recognized at the National Association of Hearing Officials annual conference in October for satisfying the requirements for certification as Certified Hearing Officials. This program is dedicated to developing uniform standards of excellence and professionalism for hearing officials and administrative law judges across the country.
  • Dr. Donna R. Bishop, Principal of Cooper ES appointed President-Elect for Georgia Elementary School Principals (GAESP).
  • Dr. Kerensa Wing, Principal of Collins Hill HS— appointed High School District K representative for Georgia Secondary School Principals (GASSP).
  • Dr. Wanda Law, Principal of North Gwinnett MS— appointed Board Member At-Large for Secondary School Principals (GASSP).
    Click here to return to top.
  • Grants/Donations
  • The Center for Design and Technology (CDAT) at Lanier HS— awarded a $15,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to improve the way students learn software engineering.
  • Peachtree ES received a $9,000 grant for the media center’s mini-makeover through Georgia United Credit Union’s School Crashers program.
  • Trickum MS— received $4,000 grant from best-selling author James Patterson to support its school library.
  • Dr. Stacy Byous of Partee ES— received a $3,000 grant from the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation for a weather station.
  • Sycamore ES received a $1,374 Angel Day donation from Belk at the Mall of Georgia.
  • Kathleen Hudson Parrish of McConnell MS— received a $500 grant from the Kroger Back-to-School Box Tops For Education Giveaway.

  • Sycamore ES Principal
    Crystal Cooper Thompson stands with
    Belk’s Leah Billiter(right).

  • Congratulations to the following schools for receiving more than $24,000 in Bright Ideas Grants from Jackson EMC for classroom projects:




    Grade Level


    Creekland MS


    Lisa Schulze


    Digging into Georgia’s Prehistoric Past

    Dacula MS


    Liliana Tamas


    Math Remedial-

    Hull MS


    Dr. Jason Garner


    Electricity and Magnetism

    Jones MS


    Barbara Teti


    Living Under the Sea

    Lanier MS


    Lindsay Brenner


    Tower Garden

    Lanier MS


    Katerina Flanders


    McGregor’s Garden

    Lanier MS


    Catherine Warnock


    Teaching Social Skills

    Lanier MS


    Rod Parris


    Using Greatest

    Lanier MS


    Michele Langhans


    Using Robotics

    Northbrook MS


    Karen Jackson


    Creating Thinking in Science

    Osborne MS


    Keri Humrighouse


    MagLev Project Vehicle

    Pinckneyville MS


    Lisa Kasko


    Game On!!! (Let’s Roll! & Totally Tiled!)

    Radloff MS


    Julie Wilkerson


    Renewable Energy

    Radloff MS


    Wayne Dail


    Solar Energy Inquiry

    Sweetwater MS


    Jessica Mincey


    World News in the Classroom

    Twin Rivers MS


    Sandra Wise


    Makerspaces CCT

    11 Schools
    (16 grants)


  • Congratulations to the following educators for receiving sponsorships for Foreign Language Association of Georgia membership dues ($25 per teacher, totalling $703):
    Ashley Allgood of Brookwood HS
    Rhonda Archer of North Gwinnett HS
    Rachel Ash of Parkview HS
    Christy Belbey of Dacula HS
    Ben Bradshaw of Jones MS
    Holly Brodnax of Grayson HS
    Michele Broeg of Archer HS
    Rachel Buzzerd of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
    Lindsey Campbell of Brookwood HS
    Dr. Jaime Claymore of Mountain View HS
    Emily Costine of Level Creek ES
    Nicole Courtney of Central Gwinnett HS
    Ingrid Crook of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
    Ana Diaz of Mountain View HS
    Onyx Dlabik of Grayson HS
    Laura Droms of Mountain View HS
    Rachel Jane Fowler of Grayson HS
    Waleska Grajales of Dacula HS
    Lesa Howell of South Gwinnett HS
    Dr. Shiouyin Houng of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
    Melanie Hutsell of Peachtree Ridge HS
    Maria Cristina Jarrell of Collins Hill HS
    Deanne King of Berkmar HS
    Sanja Kenzovic of Parkview HS
    Marcia Littlefield of Crews MS
    Mary Meyer of Brookwood HS
    Caroline Miklosovic of Parkview HS
    Norma Miller of Duluth HS
    Aaron Mullins of Parkview HS
    Kirsten Nelson of Shiloh HS
    Miriam Patrick of Parkview HS
    Dr. Robert Patrick of Parkview HS
    Rebecca Robbins of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
    Kristin Roberts of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
    Keith Toda of Brookwood HS
    Jaime Vega Ulate of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
    Patrick Yaggy of Dacula HS
    Click here to return to top.
  • 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 to be included in the Spring issue of the 2015-16 school year.
    Share your feedback on Spotlight!

    Click here to return to top.

        GCPS    Employment    Back Issues   
        Last modified on 09/12/2016