Volume 3 , Number 3May 23, 2011


Need-to-know highlights in National and State Recognitions:
  • Duluth HS’ Lemonds receives Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award. Read more…
  • Brookwood HS’ Wetherington earns top national science fellowship and grant. Read more…
  • Berkmar MS’ Griffith 'drafted' as NFL Network PE Teacher of the Year. Read more...
  • Brookwood HS’ Dees honored as “Georgia HS Principal of the Year.”Read more…
  • Parkview HS teachers recognized with state honors. Read more…
  • Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame induct Norcross HS’ Parrish. Read more...
  • Rock Springs ES’ Schmidt surprised with 2010-11 GCPS Media Specialist of the Year award. Read more...
  • Gwinnett’s top transportation professionals recognized at annual banquet. Read more…
  • GCPS applauds 81 head custodians for their services. Read more…
  • GCPS teams raise funds and awareness for United Way and Relay For Life. Read more…


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    Duluth HS’ Lemonds receives Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award


    Dr. Peter Lemonds of Duluth HS was recognized with the Yale Distinguished Music Educator award from Yale University. He is one of 50 educators from across the country honored this school year, selected by a panel of music professionals.


    As a Yale honoree, Dr. Lemonds will have the opportunity to attend the 2011 Symposium on Music in Schools in New Haven, Connecticut. As part of the event, he will participate in a workshop conducted by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, titled “The Value of Music Education.” He also will attend a concert by Mr. Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.

    At the April meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education, Principal Jason Lane expressed appreciation for all that Dr. Lemonds and co-director Shawn Morton have contributed to Duluth HS, noting the school's “marching orchestra.”
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    Brookwood HS’ Wetherington earns top science fellowship
    Dr. Jonathon Wetherington, a science teacher at Brookwood HS, was selected from a large national pool of high school mathematics and science teaching candidates for this year’s Society for Science and the Public (SSP) Fellows Program.

    As an SSP Fellow for 2011, Dr. Wetherington will receive a grant for $8,500 which he plans to use to develop a formal student research program at Brookwood HS.

    “Ultimately, the research program will allow students to research topics of their own choosing, which encourages creativity, independent thought, and curiosity,” says Dr. Wetherington. Through the program, students will formulate questions, then design and carry out experiments to answer those questions. The research topics will vary— from genetics and microbiology to engineering and environmental science.

    Dr. Wetherington will participate in the Fellows Institute to be held July 25–29, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
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    Berkmar MS’ Griffith honored with NFL Network PE Teacher of the Year award

    Dana Griffith of Berkmar MS is the NFL’s number one draft pick in the fight against childhood obesity. Ms. Griffith was selected as the NFL Network PE Teacher of the Year, which also includes a $10,000 stipend for Ms. Griffith, a $10,000 school companion PE grant, and a trip to the NFL Draft in New York City. Ms. Griffith also will serve as a spokesperson for the program in 2011, both at “Keep Gym in School” events and with media appearances.

    “Enthusiasm toward physical education has reached a new height at Berkmar Middle School,” Ms. Griffith says.

    Dana Griffith stands with NFL great Deion Sanders as she accepts her award.
    Thanks to the NFL’s PLAY 60 youth health and fitness campaign and the “Keep Gym in School” initiative, Berkmar MS students will have a new track next school year. The track will be used by Berkmar PE students, running club members, and others interested in getting kids involved in active learning during the day. "The physical education department will use the positive momentum generated by the NFL to encourage students to continue physical activity throughout the summer by having all students register on PLAY 60,” says Ms. Griffith.
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    Brookwood HS’ Dees named “Georgia HS Principal of the Year”


    Debbie Dees, principal of Brookwood HS, was named the 2011-2012 Georgia High School Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP). Ms. Dees now will represent Georgia in the national competition, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and MetLife. Ms. Dees will be formally recognized as Georgia’s top high school principal next September in Washington, D.C.

    This school year has been a special one for Ms. Dees as she also received the 2010 Jim Puckett Outstanding Educator Award from the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) and GASSP.

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    Parkview HS' Patrick and Cotton receive state honors
    The Parkview HS learning community is celebrating two educators with noteworthy state recognitions:

  • Dr. Robert Patrick has been selected the 2011 Georgia Classical Association Teacher of the Year. Dr. Patrick teaches Latin, and was honored as the 2007-08 local school Teacher of the Year.

  • Terry Cotton, advisor of Parkview HS’ Technology Students Association and the school's 2000-01 Teacher of the Year, was honored with the Tommy Pitchford Inspirational Teacher Award by the Georgia Technology Students Association.
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  • Norcross HS’ Parrish inducted into Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame
    Gina Parrish of Norcross HS was recognized by the Gwinnett County Board of Education for her induction into the Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame. Ms. Parrish teaches theater arts at the school.

    The Georgia Thespians annually recognize an individual who has at least 20 years of dedicated service in the field of theater education, and is a member of the Educational Theater Association. Recipients are role models respected by their peers and students. They exemplify extraordinary service to local and state thespian programs, exhibit extraordinary passion and enthusiasm for the educational process of theater arts, and display extraordinary leadership and vision.
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    Rock Springs ES’ Schmidt named 2010-11 GCPS Media Specialist of the Year


    Kathy Schmidt stands with her
    husband, Dave, and son, James.

    Earlier this spring, Kathy Schmidt of Rock Springs ES learned she had been named 2010-11 GCPS Media Specialist of the Year in a surprise announcement by the school's staff.

    Even Mrs. Schmidt’s husband and son, who were on hand at the school for the announcement, managed to keep the secret under wraps.

    “I was shocked and honored!” Mrs. Schmidt says. “We have such great media specialists in our county and I was really honored that they chose me to be the 2011 GCPS Media Specialist of the Year.”

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    Top school bus staffers honored
    The Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) employees who are often the first to say “good morning” to students recently received a “thank you” from the school system. During the annual Bus Manager and Monitor of the Year banquet, district leaders expressed their appreciation for the job that these employees do every day in transporting students safely to and from school.

    GCPS’ top transportation employees for 2011 are:
    Mariea Pettaway
    2011 Regular Education
    Bus Manager
    of the Year
    Ms. Pettaway joined the school system in 2006 and serves as a driver for students in the Archer Cluster. She says she enjoys greeting students every day with a smile on her face.
    Robert Bodemuller
    2011 Special Education
    Bus Manager
    of the Year
    Serving students in the Norcross area, Mr. Bodemuller says he likes to think of himself as a role model to students. He started transporting students with the school district in 2005.
    Tabatha Massey
    2011 Special Education
    Bus Monitor of the Year
    Ms. Massey is a 10-year GCPS veteran who serves special needs students. She also serves as a monitor for the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf.

    Before being named this year’s top transportation employees, these candidates participated in an extensive selection process. First, they were nominated by peers in their transportation zone. 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 among the finalists.
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    81 head custodians honored by GCPS
    The school system thanked and applauded the work of 81 head school custodians during the 23rd annual Head Custodian Appreciation Breakfast. A total of 120 schools were represented by their head custodians and principals.

    “The custodian's primary role is maintaining a safe, clean, secure environment that is conducive to effective teaching and learning,” says Stephen Hatcher, assistant director of Environmental and Supply Services. “Under the authority of the principal, the head custodian leads that effort at her or his school daily.”

    Mr. Hatcher added that all the honorees have implemented the GCPS Custodial Program and met all nine criteria to earn the award. These top professionals were selected based on attendance at monthly meetings, use of proper procedures, completion of hazard communication training, and adherence to a time-management tool that emphasizes proper scheduling of effective cleaning methods and efficient procedures.
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    GCPS teams raise funds for United Way and Relay For Life
    As the economy starts to rebound and communities stand together to help each other, United Way encourages everyone to “Live United.” To support community programs and service agencies, GCPS’ 2010 United Way fundraising campaign raised $464,824.83 from both local school campaigns and central office staff members.

    “The incredible support of our schools and colleagues for this year’s United Way campaign has been overwhelming,” says Dr. Frances Davis, Chief Human Resources Officer, who co-chairs the GCPS United Way campaign with Kelly Herndon of the GCPS Foundation and Dr. Charisse Redditt of Leadership Development. “The energy and spirited participation we’ve witnessed has been the true embodiment of the ‘Live United’ theme, and our community will certainly reap the benefits of our results.”



    Melissa Nelson of Mountain View HS stands
    with Gwinnett County United Way 2010-11
    Campaign Chair Thomas T. Tate of
    Andersen, Tate, & Carr P.C., left,
    and Demetrius Jordan, Area Director
    of United Way Metro North.

    Hearty congratulations go to Melissa Nelson, Mountain View HS’ campaign manager, for winning this year's incentive drawing for a pair of Delta Airlines vouchers. Mountain View HS raised $4,534 for the 2010 campaign. Read more about the 2010 campaign managers who met their goals and qualified for the drawing.

    GCPS also takes pride in its involvement in Gwinnett County's successful Relay For Life event, benefitting the American Cancer Society. For 2010, the total amount raised by GCPS Relay teams was $1,041,862. Organizers are looking forward to exceeding that amount in this year's fundraising efforts. View photos from the 2011 Relay For Life event and information about the top teams and participants on the Gwinnett Relay For Life page of the American Cancer Society's website.


    Among the 116 school system teams participating, 32 school teams and three central office teams raised $10,000 or more in 2010:

    School Teams raising $10,000 or more for Relay for Life in 2010
    Brookwood HS
    Lanier MS
    Puckett’s Mill ES
    Collins Hill HS
    Mason ES
    Riverside ES
    Cooper ES
    McConnell MS
    Rock Springs ES
    Couch MS
    Mill Creek HS
    Shiloh MS
    Craig ES
    Minor ES
    Simpson ES
    Creekland MS
    Norcross HS
    Snellville MS
    Crews MS
    North Gwinnett HS
    Sugar Hill ES
    Dacula ES
    North Gwinnett MS
    Taylor ES
    Duncan Creek ES
    Parkview HS
    Trickum MS
    Grayson HS
    Peachtree Ridge HS
    Winn Holt ES
    Jones MS
    Pinckneyville ES
    Central Office Teams raising $10,000 or more for Relay For Life in 2010
    IMD CD’s
    ISC Relay For Life
    Transportation

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    Need-to-know highlights in Spotlight:
    Learn more about…
  • System, School, and Staff Honors

  • Student/Team Honors

  • Degrees

  • Presentations

  • Publications

  • Participants, and

  • Grants/Scholarships.

  • Something to celebrate?


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    System, School, and Staff Honors
  • STAR Teacher Dana Kling of Brookwood HS— named state runner-up, along with STAR Student Akshaya Suresh.
  • Sandra Woodyard of Berkmar HS— recognized by the PAGE Foundation during the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon for her service to the organization as longtime facilities coordinator for the event.
  • Shiloh MS featured in “High 5 Field Trip Segment” on Good Day, Atlanta. The segment featured a winning student reader and student writer, science teacher Margie Hartley and her students, cheerleaders, the girls basketball team, Coach Marsha A. Jones, and Dr. Eric Parker, principal.
  • Dr. Stacy Byous of Collins HS— received the President’s Service Award from Gwinnett Chapter 1495 of Phi Delta Kappa.
  • Gayle Adkinson, director of Gifted and Accelerated Education— selected for the Outstanding Student Award in a District Level Leadership Role by the University of West Georgia’s College of Education.
  • Congratulations to the following educators recognized as inspiring teachers and $750 award recipients by Atlanta Toyota: Kereida Beadle of Berkmar HS, Catherine Trouteaud of Brookwood HS, Lauren Ferguson of Central Gwinnett HS, Dr. Heather Held and Jill Tweedy, both of Collins Hill HS, Chad Harrison of Dacula HS, Vanette Vedder of Duluth HS, Mary Stimmel of Grayson HS, Barbara Steele of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Gerda Louizi of Meadowcreek HS, Gregory Marr of Mill Creek HS, Dr. Cassandra Harrington of Norcross HS, Allison Jenkins and Michelle Mullis, both of North Gwinnett HS, Dr. Doug Wagner of Parkview HS, Lisa York of Peachtree Ridge HS, Sherry Fowler of Phoenix HS, Stephen Lindsay of Shiloh HS, and Erica Poole of South Gwinnett HS.
  • Debra P. Rogers of Monarch School— honored as the school’s 2010-11 Paraprofessional of the Year.

    Merle Soodyall of Stripling ES, center, and Brad Zickefoose of Radloff MS, right, stand with Donna Lowry of 11Alive after being recognized as 11 Alive Class Act Teachers. The TV crew surprised the teachers with “Random Acts of Kindness.”

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  • Student/Team Honors
  • North Gwinnett HS North Gwinnett Percussion Ensemble, directed by Joe Higgins— earned 3rd place in the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships.
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) Academic WorldQuest Team A, coached by Beverly Jerrim— won 1st in the state competition and represented Georgia in the national championship WorldQuest competition in Washington, D.C.
  • Meadowcreek HS’ Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Culinary Team, advised by Debbie Grant— won the state FCCLA culinary championship and will advance to the national competition.
  • Parkview HS Economics Challenge team, sponsored by Gary Petmecky— won the Georgia Council on Economic Education’s (GCEE) 2011 Economics Challenge and will compete in the regional meet.
  • Berkmar HS' Academic Decathlon team, coached by Christopher Pae and Brian Bernhardt— named Division I (large school) winner of the Georgia Academic Decathlon State Championship by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). Dacula HS' Academic Decathlon team, coached by Amy Benson, earned the 2nd runner-up spot. The Berkmar team will represent the state in the U.S. Academic Decathlon Large School Online Competition.
  • Congratulations to these communities, student-athletes, and coaches for AAAAA state athletic championships:
    Brookwood HS Boys Tennis team, coached by Heath Hinton;
    — Gwinnett Heat Adapted Football team, coached by Jennifer Elinburg, Michaela Istone, and Brian Elinburg;
    Norcross HS Boys Basketball team, coached by Jesse McMillan, and
    Norcross HS Girls Basketball team, coached by Angie Hembree; and
    Peachtree Ridge HS Boys Track and Field, coached by Venson Elder and Ron Clanton.
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  • Degrees
  • Dr. Barbara A. Caldwell of Meadowcreek HS— earned a doctoral degree in Administration Supervision from Capella University.
  • Dr. Vivian Daniel of Central Gwinnett HS— earned a doctoral degree in Administration Supervision from Capella University.
  • Dr. Jim Markham of Mill Creek HS— earned a doctoral degree in Leadership in Education from Capella University.
  • Dr. Stacey Schepens of McConnell MS— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Mercer University.
  • Dr. Lori Walker Union of Lawrenceville ES— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Technology from Walden University.
  • Pam Amendola of Brookwood HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Learning, Design, and Technology from the University of Georgia.
  • Karyn M. Black of Accountability and Assessment— earned a specialist’s degree in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Georgia.
  • Holly Rutledge of Accountability and Assessment— earned a specialist’s degree in Teaching and Learning from Georgia Southern University.
  • John Sorah of GIVE Center East— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University.
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  • Presentations
  • Tamika Lindsey of Summerour MS— presented “Algebra the IB Way: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Learning Algebra” at the 20th Annual National Association for Multicultural Education Conference. She also presented “Function Exploration” at the 2011 Texas Instruments T3 (Teachers Teaching with Technology) Regional STEM Conference.
  • The following teachers presented at the Annual Conference of the Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG):
    Alexandra Hunter of Beaver Ridge ES, Diana Diazgranados of Berkeley Lake ES, Lillian Carrasco of Level Creek ES, Joe Frank Uriz of Parsons ES,Sara Wellman of Peachtree ES, and Allison Doherty of Stripling ES— “A Make and Take Adventure!”;
    Dr. Kristopher Muir of Brookwood HS— “Beyond the Textbook: Communicative Strategies that Truly Engage Students.” Dr. Muir also presented “Culture, Content, and Collaboration: Effective Ways to Increase Students’ Cultural Proficiency and Extend the Foreign Language Classroom” at the South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers Association Conference;
    Holly Brodnax of Grayson HS and Laura Droms of Mountain View HS— “Come on Down! Games and Game Shows in the World Language Classroom”;
    Lara Foreman of Grayson HS— “Organizing for Success: Binders, Bags, Bins and Bombs!”;
    David Jahner, director of Foreign Language— “Get Them Reading! Easy to Implement Reading Strategies”;
    Jaime Claymore of Mountain View HS— “Teaching Language through Etymology”;
    Joe Frank Uriz of Parsons ES— “What can FLAG do for you?”;
    Sara Wellman of Peachtree ES— “Power Point Storytelling”; and
    Sanja Knezovic of Parkview HS— “German AP Begins in Level 1.”
  • Dr. Stacy Byous of Collins HS— presented “Team Nation” at the 48th Annual Southeastern Business and Marketing Conference.
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  • Publications
  • Joan McElroy of Lanier MSpublished Thus Spoke the Mockingbird, a one-woman play about author Harper Lee.
  • Courtney Sievers of South Gwinnett HS— published “I Can Identify Saturn but I Can’t Brush My Teeth: What Happens When the Curricular Focus for Students with Severe Disabilities Shifts?” in the March 2011 issue of Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities.
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  • Participants
  • David Jahner, Foreign Language director, and Joe Frank Uriz of Parsons ES— served on the 2009-2011 Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) Board. Mr. Uriz served as PR Director and Mr. Jahner as President. The two will continue to serve on the 2011-2013 FLAG Board in new roles: Mr. Uriz is now president-elect and Mr. Jahner is immediate past president.
  • Karen Leamon of Dacula ES— served as guest clinician and directed the 2011 Houston County Elementary Honor Chorus in Warner Robbins, Ga.
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  • Grants/Scholarships
  • GCPS Foundation— received a donation from Kesslers Team Sports and The Sports Authority of PE equipment and 100,000 gift cards in $10 and $20 increments for all elementary and middle school physical education students and staff, and middle school coaches and sports teams.
  • Burnette ES— presented with PE equipment worth $2,000 from Publix of McGinnis Crossing.
  • Summerour MS— awarded a $3,000 Great American Salad Bar grant.
  • Kimberly Dorminy of Sugar Hill ES and Kenneth Whaley of Trickum MS— each received a $1,200 scholarship from the Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association (GCREA).
  • Heather Alvira of Minor ES— awarded a $1,322 Career Programming Enhancement Grant through the 21st Century Grant program.
  • Shawna Voigt of Minor ES— earned a grant from Girls on the Run of Atlanta worth $2,400. The grant covered the costs for the school to buy running shoes for participating students.
  • Congratulations to the following schools for earning Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grants:
    Corley ES— received $2,525 for its Lowe’s Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle Garden;
    Hopkins ES— awarded $2,000 for its Outdoor Classroom and Garden;
    Meadowcreek HS— received $5,000 to support its Classroom for Independent Living Skills; and
    Nesbit ES— awarded $2,000 for its Navigating Pathways of Success through a Green Education program.
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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 your submissions to Spotlight. The deadline is July 22, 2011, for the back-to-school issue.

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