Volume 6 , Number 2May 22, 2014

This Spring issue recognizes honors from the second semester of 2013-14 through the close of the 2013-14 school year .

Click here to return to top.
GCPS recognized among best communities
in U.S. for music education in 2014

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation selected GCPS as one of the “2014 Best Communities for Music Education.”

“This is a tribute to the nearly 250 music educators in the district and over 114,000 students who receive quality music instruction, and a Board of Education and superintendent who value and support the arts,” says Robert Andrews, the school district’s director of Fine Arts. “I believe the recognition was received due to the comprehensive nature of the AKS music curriculum and to the strength of the music program offerings for all students in grades K-12.”

Mr. Andrews says that GCPS is one of a few districts in the county that offers music instruction on a regular basis by certified specialists to all elementary students in grades K-5. In addition, GCPS bands, choruses, and orchestras are known for their excellent performance standards. Many of these performance groups continue to receive honors and awards at the state, regional, national, and international level for their world-class performances at conferences, festivals, and competitions.

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs from the international music products industry.
Click here to return to top.
U.S. DOE taps Arcado ES for 2014
Green Ribbon Schools Sustainability Award

Arcado ES is one of 48 schools in the nation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2014 National Green Ribbon School. The Parkview Cluster elementary school is being honored for the school’s exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways.

“The students and staff at Arcado Elementary were so excited to get the news that we received this award,” says Principal Penny Palmer Young. “We are proud stewards of the environment and are honored that the U.S. Department of Education sees us as such.”

Arcado ES is one of two Georgia school winners. To reward their demonstrated energy efficiency efforts, the two winners will split $10,000 in prize money— awarded by the Captain Planet Foundation and Turner Foundation.
Click here to return to top.

Lanier HS’ Reilly honored by national center
 The Gwinnett County Board of Education recently saluted Lanier HS Teacher Michael Reilly on his selection as the winner of the Aspirations in Computing Educator Award, sponsored by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). The Educator Award is presented to teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to encouraging young women’s aspirations in computing.
Mr. Reilly leads Lanier’s Center for Design and Technology (CDAT), which holds STEM certification from the Georgia Department of Education. Through CDAT, Lanier HS students express their creativity and demonstrate mastery of core subject areas through project-based learning and the use of technology.

By learning professional production techniques, students acquire the knowledge and skills for future careers in areas such as interactive design and game development, modern media and programming, digital video production, mobile media design, 2- and 3-D creation and animation, software development (including mobile apps), and much more.
Click here to return to top.
GSMST’s Son among finalists for 2015 Georgia TOTY honor
Congratulations to Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year (TOTY) Hyunjin Son of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) on being named one of 10 finalists for the Georgia TOTY title. Ms. Son was one of 10 finalists chosen from a pool of 156 applicants who were selected as the Teacher of the Year in their representative school districts.

Ms. Son, left, works with a student in her engineering classroom.

Click here to return to top.
Maxwell HS of Technology’s Grant
selected as Georgia’s top Culinary Arts teacher

Chef Debbie Grant of Maxwell HS of Technology was recently selected as Georgia’s 2014 ProStart Teacher of the Year by the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia (HEFG) and the Greater Atlanta Chefs Association. Ms. Grant has led the culinary arts program at Maxwell since 2011. Just a year later, she was named the school’s Teacher of the Year and one of 25 semifinalists for Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year.

Chef Grant instructs her culinary arts students.

Click here to return to top.
Parkview HS’ Morrow takes a bow as
state’s 2014 Theatre Arts Educator of the Year

The School Board asked Sharon Morrow of Parkview HS to take a bow in honor of her being named 2014 Theatre Arts Educator of the Year by the Georgia Thespians, a chapter of the Education Theatre Association. A language arts, drama, music, and theatre arts teacher at Parkview, Ms. Morrow, was honored by the Georgia Thespians at the group’s annual conference.
Click here to return to top.
Center for Design and Technology at Lanier HS
earns state STEM certification

The Georgia Department of Education has awarded STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) certification to the Center for Design and Technology (CDAT) at Lanier HS.

“Programs like CDAT are exactly what Georgia’s students need— and what Georgia needs,” says State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “There is a continuing void in STEM professionals in Georgia’s labor market, and schools that encourage students’ passions for science, technology, engineering and math will go far to fill that gap.”

Lanier HS is the ninth school in the state to be awarded STEM certification. The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology also holds the designation. Learn more about STEM schools at www.stemgeorgia.org
Click here to return to top.
Riverside ES’ Sebastian honored
by Georgia Association for Gifted Children

Marion Sebastian of Riverside ES was awarded the Margaret Bynum Award by the Georgia Association for Gifted Children (GAGC). This is the most prestigious award presented by GAGC, and is named for Margaret Bynum. Ms. Bynum was instrumental in developing the first programs for gifted children in Georgia, and served as the first director of the Governors Honors Program in 1964.

A Gifted program educator in Gwinnett since 1980, Ms. Sebastian was recognized as a result of her longstanding dedication to gifted students in Georgia and her leadership and influence amongst her colleagues. She has been recognized as a local school Teacher of the Year 10 times, and has been awarded the Hughes Award for outstanding service to the Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education (GAGE). She also has been honored as the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Educator of the Year and Georgia Elementary Science Teacher of the Year.
Click here to return to top.
North Gwinnett HS’ Stewart named
2014 GCPS Media Specialist of the Year

Jim Stewart of North Gwinnett HS was named the 2013-14 Gwinnett County School Library Media Specialist of the Year (MSOY). The Library Media Specialist of the Year Award recognizes individual excellence in the library media field through service to students, teachers, and community at the K-12 levels.
Mr. Stewart will move on to compete for the Metro District Media Specialist of the Year title.

“The most important part of my job is to assist my students and staff as they become effective consumers and creators of information,” says Mr. Stewart. An ardent collaborator, Jim finds “special joy helping teachers rework a previously established project.”

“Jim has built a strong reputation that represents service and student academic success,” noted Nathan Ballantine, principal of North Gwinnett HS.

Mr. Stewart holds a bachelors degree from The University of Georgia (UGA) and a masters degree from North Georgia College and State University. He completed his Media Specialist certification at UGA.

From Left: North Gwinnett HS Principal Nathan Ballantine, MSOY Jim Stewart, and Mary Barbee, director of Media Services and Technology Training

Click here to return to top.
Top bus drivers, monitor honored by GCPS
Earlier this spring, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) district leaders and School Board members recognized three transportation professionals for their commitment to serving Gwinnett students and their families. Lisa Peterson, Mattie Gurcules, and Frank Murphy were named School Bus Managers and Monitor of the Year

Lisa Peterson

Regular Education
Bus Manager of the Year

Having joined the school district in 2006, Lisa Peterson enjoys being on the road transporting students in the South Gwinnett Cluster. 


Mattie Gurcules

Special Education
Bus Manager of the Year

Mattie Gurcules transports children in the Central Gwinnett area. She joined the school district in 2011. 

Frank Murphy

Special Education
Bus Monitor of the Year

Frank Murphy monitors special needs students who travel to Ferguson Elementary and Duluth High. 

He became a special education bus monitor in 2009.  

An extensive process resulted in the selection of the 2013-14 winners. First, they were nominated by their colleagues in their transportation zone27 regular education zones and nine special education zones. Nominees then were given a written and driving skills test. Eleven finalists were selected five regular education bus managers, three special education bus managers, and three special education bus monitors. A judging committee, comprised of GCPS system leaders who serve outside of the Transportation Department, selected the winners from the pool of finalists.
Click here to return to top.
GCPS recognized with top fundraising honors by United Way
The 2013 United Way fundraising campaign for Gwinnett County Public Schools raised more than $479,000 to support service agencies and community programs. This total includes fundraising efforts from local school employees, students, and central office staff members’ contributions. GCPS students collected more than $91,000 for this year’s campaign. Half of the total raised in student campaigns is returned to support programs at local schools. The fundraising total was an increase of $12,000 over last year’s collections. As a result, GCPS was recognized as a 2013 Excellence in Campaign Award at the Breakfast of Champions hosted by United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Largest School Campaigns
Minor ES$11,764.29
Dacula MS$8,662.58
Norcross HS$10,868.76
Largest Division Campaign
Curriculum and Instructional Support$25,234.24

The school district also extends its congratulations to the GCPS United Way employee campaign managers who met or exceeded campaign goals.

Congratulations to Alicia Thomas from South Gwinnett HS, who was selected in a random drawing to win a pair of Delta Airlines tickets for any destination in the continental U.S. In order to be entered into the drawing, GCPS campaign managers had to meet or exceed their schools’ 2013 goals. South Gwinnett HS raised $1,650 for the 2013 campaign and exceeded its goal by 33%.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Frances Davis, Chair, GCPS’ 2013 campaign; Dr. Wendy Metcalf, co-chair, GCPS’ 2013 campaign; Vanessa Rousell, Major Gifts Coordinator - United Way of Greater Atlanta; Swetha Gupta, Development Officer - United Way of Greater Atlanta; Dr. Charisse Redditt, co-chair, GCPS’ 2013 campaign; and Dan King, 2013 Campaign Chair for Gwinnett County.
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
  • Dr. Frances Davis, associate superintendent of Human Resources and Talent Management— recognized with the 2014 Georgia State University College of Education Distinguished Alumnus Award.
  • Max Chavez of Maxwell HS of Technology— honored as the Trade and Industrial Educators of Georgia (TIEGA) New Teacher of the Year. Mr. Chavez also is the TIEGA nominee for the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year Award.
  • Mercedes Fleischman, Jessica Petronis, and Julie Rutkowski, all of Pinckneyville MS— recognized with the Georgia Coaches of the Year Award from Georgia Future Problem Solving which honors their accomplishments as the coaches for the Pinckneyville MS Future Problem Solving team.
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology— honored with the Outstanding Secondary Spanish Program Award from the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Spanish and Portuguese. The award was accompanied by a $500 grant for the school’s Spanish program.
  • Congratulations to the following educators for honors and awards received from the Gwinnett Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children:
    Ashlee Todd of Grace Snell MS, recognized as Teacher of the Year;
    Jan Gattis of Shiloh ES, named as Paraprofessional of the Year; and
    Gia Sachs and Nicole Matunas, both of Central Gwinnett HS, honored as Collaborative Team of the Year.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Degrees
  • Dr. Monica N. Hudson of Mill Creek HS— earned a doctoral degree in Education from Walden University.
  • Dr. Rodriguez Johnson of Simonton ES— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University.
  • Dr. Lauren Christine Phillips of Nesbit ES— earned a doctoral degree in Teaching and Learning from Georgia State University.
  • Dr. Gina S. Skinner of Maxwell HS of Technology— earned a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University.
  • Stacy Balthrop Flood of Stripling ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College.
  • Tracey Buchner of Trickum MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Mercer University.
  • Clark Malone of Duluth HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Special Education from Kennesaw State University.
  • Angie Myers of Alford ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Brenau University.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Presentations
  • District leaders presented at the national conference of the American Association of School Administrators:
    CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks and Dr. Steve Flynt, chief strategy and performance officer— “The Power of Analytics: From Data to Information to Knowledge;” and
    CEO/Superintendent Wilbanks, Knight ES Principal Toni Ferguson, and Dr. Glenn Pethel, assistant superintendent of Leadership Development— “Ensuring Principal Effectiveness: A District Priority.”
    Click here to return to top.
  • Publications
  • Dr. Eric Parker, principal of Shiloh HS— published an article, titled “Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing,” in the February 2014 issue of Principal Leadership, a publication of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
  • Kenneth A. Whaley of Trickum MS— published an article, titled “Gliding through Time toward Equitable Mathematics,” in the April 2014 issue of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Participants
  • Dr. Lauren Christine Phillips of Nesbit ES— named president-elect of the Georgia Art Education Association.
  • Dr. Jeff Mathews, principal of Peachtree Ridge HS, and Molly McAuliffe and Sheila Hughes-Harmony, both of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology— participated in the keynote panel “Connections: Forging Industry and Education Partnerships” at the Georgia Scholarship of STEM Teaching and Learning Conference.
    Click here to return to top.
  • Grants/Scholarships
  • GIVE Center West received a flooring system, valued at more than $40,000, donated by CBA Sports.
  • Tracey Buchner of Trickum MS— wrote a winning proposal for a $7,000 technology grant from Nordson Corporation Foundation for her classroom.
  • Lanier HS— received a $5,000 grant from Verizon and a “Best in Region” award for a student team’s mobile app concept.
  • Creekland MS received a $2,600 grant from Clipper Petroleum to fund BYOD devices for students.
  • Minor ES received The Learning Garden Grant from the Captain Planet Foundation.
    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. Spring and summer honors received after April 18 will be included in a fall issue of Spotlight. Click here to send all submissions to Spotlight. The deadline for back-to-school kudos is Aug. 29, 2014. Honors received after that date will be included in the Winter issue of the 2014-15 school year.
    Share your feedback on Spotlight!

    Click here to return to top.

        GCPS    Employment    Back Issues   
        Last modified on 09/01/2015