The following are highlights of the December 17, 2015, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE). Board members present included Chairman Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Vice Chairman Dr. Robert McClure, Carole Boyce, Daniel Seckinger, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.
Board of Education honors students and staff
-- Board members congratulated Cindy Quinlan of Brookwood HS on her recognition as the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Teacher of the Year. Since 1954, ACTE has recognized those individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that exemplify the highest standards and organizations conducting activities to promote and expand CTE programs. Award winners serve as inspirational leaders to ACTE as they embody the core values of serving their students and being committed to CTE. The national award winners were announced during the ACTE Awards Banquet on Thursday, November 19, at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. A veteran teacher, Quinlan has taught Marketing, Computer Science, Business Education and Work-Based Learning at Brookwood High School for the past 10 years. As the Entrepreneurship Program Specialist, she assists teachers with improving curriculum within Career and Technical Education. In introducing her to the Board, Principal Bo Ford shared a number of Ms. Quinlan's accomplishments, including a recent invitation to speak to a Chinese delegation about entrepreneurship. Mr. Ford described her as a "master teacher" and invited all to come sit in on one of her classes. In her remarks Ms. Quinlan thanked the Board of Education, her principal, and her family for their support, calling her job "the best one in the whole wide world."
-- Gwinnett continues to lead the way with counseling honors with two employees earning state recognition from the Georgia School Counselors Association (GSCA). Dr. Dion Jones, principal of Roberts ES, was named the State Counseling Administrator of the Year and Robin Zorn, counselor at Mason ES, is this year's State Counseling Writer of the Year. Zorn, a former national counselor of the year, was honored this year for her book entitled "STEP UP to Better Grades." Both Jones and Zorn were honored on November 4 at the GSCA annual state conference in Savannah.
Gwinnett County Public Schools honors citizens who led campaign for E-SPLOST
The November 3 referendum to extend the one-cent special purpose local option sales tax for educational purposes (E-SPLOST) in Gwinnett County was approved by voters with a 75% "yes" vote. The campaign to inform voters about the E-SPLOST election and advocate for its passage was conducted by the "Gwinnett Kids Count!" 2017-2022 Education SPLOST Renewal Committee, comprised of parents and business leaders from every school cluster in the county. Sean Murphy led the campaign as chairman, assisted by treasurer Norwood Davis, legal counsel Michael Levengood, and a team of "cluster captains" from every cluster and two special entity schools. Cluster captains include: Melissa Gillis of the Archer Cluster, Antonio Molina of the Berkmar Cluster, Ron Weber of the Brookwood Cluster, Lynne Serrian of the Central Gwinnett Cluster, Tim Krajec of the Collins Hill Cluster, Greg Cantrell of the Dacula Cluster, Carla White of the Discovery Cluster, Judy and Scott Gage of the Duluth Cluster, Laura Sims of the Grayson Cluster, Karen Moore of the Lanier Cluster, Joy Monroe of the Meadowcreek Cluster, Andrea Braun of the Mill Creek Cluster, Terra Winter of the Mountain View Cluster, Bob Chapin of the Norcross Cluster, Sheila Crumrine of the North Gwinnett Cluster, Ryan Sauers of the Parkview Cluster, Amy Bray of the Peachtree Ridge Cluster, Ed Derricho of the Shiloh Cluster, Chris Snell of the South Gwinnett Cluster, Cindy Murphy of Phoenix HS, and Helen Loyd of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. The Board and Superintendent recognized the Gwinnett Kids Count! campaign leaders and cluster captains for their service to Gwinnett County Public Schools and Buford City Schools in securing a positive outcome in the November 3 election.
School Board reappoints leader to Board of Directors of Partnership Gwinnett
Partnership Gwinnett Public Funding Entity, Inc. (Partnership Gwinnett PFE) was formed as a Georgia non-profit corporation charged with the development of a long-term strategic community and economic development plan for Gwinnett County. The bylaws for Partnership Gwinnett PFE call for the Gwinnett County Board of Education to hold one seat on the organization's Board of Directors, and that representative will be appointed by the Board of Education. The term for the current Board of Education representative expires on December 31, 2015. In tonight's action, the Board reappointed the Chief Financial Officer as the Board of Education's representative on the Board of Directors of Partnership Gwinnett Public Funding Entity, Inc.
Board members approve MOA with Junior Achievement for program at Norcross HS
The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Junior Achievement (JA) to create an innovative high school academy at Norcross HS. The program, which will serve as an entrepreneurial incubator, would be open to all students attending Norcross HS through a student application process. Operating in a school-within-a-school model, the program would house 150 students per grade level, beginning with the 9th grade next year, eventually growing to serve a total of 600 students in grades 9-12. The curriculum integrates relevant content, project-based learning, authentic problem-solving and realistic workplace experiences into every aspect of the learning process. Plans are to begin the program in August of 2016.
BOE names new middle school in Duluth for former educator Brooks Coleman
Concluding its school naming process, the School Board voted unanimously to name a new middle school in the Duluth Cluster Coleman Middle School after longtime Duluth resident and former educator Dr. Brooks Coleman. The school, which will open in August of 2016, will have a STEAM focus, looking to transform student learning through the integration of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering with the arts to encourage deeper content knowledge and critical thinking skills. Dr. Coleman, who currently serves as a legislator for the area, served as a teacher and administrator at schools in the Duluth area before becoming an assistant superintendent for the district.
Board approves proposed changes to the AKS curriculum
Each year, the GEMS Oversight Committee convenes to review and provide feedback on the district's Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. This year's meeting was held November 17 and included more than 40 educators and community members. The Committee made recommendations in the following areas: Advanced Physics and Robotics and 7th Grade Health. The group also reviewed six Fine Arts programs but did not have any recommendations for changes in this area. The Board approved the changes as recommended by the GEMS Oversight Committee.
Citizens addressing the Board