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News to Know for the Week of February 1, 2021

News to Know


Save the Date  

  • Observation of Black History Month begins February 1. First created by noted historian Carter G. Woodson in the late 1920s, Black History Month is an annual celebration of African Americans' achievements and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries worldwide, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrate Black history. For more information visit


  • National School Counseling Weekis February 1-5.  (#NSCW21), "School Counselors: All In for All Students," aims to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. Sponsored by the American School Counselors Association, NSCW highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.  For more information visit


  • Centennial and NorthviewHigh students in Student Leadership Johns Creek will host an informational webinar to kick off Black History Month on Thursday, February 4 at 7 p.m. The event, available to the public, is a student effort to learn more about the past and present plans for the historic Macedonia Cemetery, a languishing burial site containing over 100 formerly enslaved African Americans and their descendants. Due to lack of care, there are many unmaintained and broken headstones, unmarked graves, and overall deprivation. As part of their project in the two-year leadership program, students will help restore the property and help establish a memorial garden. Students have already begun raising community awareness and set up a GoFundMe site to raise funding for the planned improvements.

    Webinar guest panelists include Johns Creek Historical Society President Joan Compton; Johns Creek Historical Society board member Kirk Canaday; City Council Members Brian Weaver and Erin Elwood, and Johns Creek Visitors Association President Lynda Lee Smith.

    Centennial students include Meaghan Dearing, Carmella Dunn, Harrison Frank, Summer Hinkle, Harper Hughes and Lauren Larsen. Northview students include Aryan Afre, Abinay Chari, Anjali Dhupan, Vidhi Tiwary, Shresta Jha, Sophia Ying, and Tara Ramesh. Interested registrants should go to this link. For more information on the Macedonia African American Cemetery, click here.   


Awards and Honors

  • Emily Bell, Fulton County Schools’ Chief Information Officer, qualified as a finalist for RTM Business Group's CIO of the Year Award in December 2020. The award honors leaders in the education sector for their work during the pandemic and is determined by judges consisting of RTM Advisory group and Event Leads, a small group of superintendents, assistant superintendents, chief academic officers, and CIOS in K-12 districts.

    Bell rose to the finalist level based on her efforts to support academic goals and innovative pedagogies.


  • Milton High senior Sloan Salinas was juried into the sixth annual 2021 National Art Honor Society (NAHS) and National Junior Art Honor Society (NJAHS) Exhibition, sponsored by the National Art Education Association (NAEA). The event showcases the work of talented student artists across the U.S. who are members of the organizations. Though normally held live at the NAEA Studio and Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, the exhibition this year is virtual and runs through April 30.

    Sloan’s submission entitled “Easy Listening” was an unusual technology-based medium of 100 pairs of earbuds knitted together to make a scarf. Though she initially bought them as part of an interactive piece for her AP Art Show, COVID-19 shut down that event. So, she innovatively upcycled them into “artwear” and submitted them as an exhibition entry. Her piece was chosen from 1,187 submissions and is one of 93 works representing 49 schools and 20 states.

    Though her specialty is digital painting, Sloan’s piece is a “modern take on knitting.” She encourages audiences to look twice and consider the scarf an odd juxtaposition of material and function. Milton art teacher Drew Brown says, “Sloan is an extremely talented young artist who is prolific in any visual medium. Not only does she produce great work in her AP class, but she also volunteers by creating art with purpose. Recently, she painted a desk for an auction to provide funds for children who are learning remotely with no study space.”

    The comprehensive list of works can be viewed here.


  • Alpharetta High(AHS) student actors participated in the first round of Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Region One Act Play, a competitive event for theater students held at Milton High. The Alpharetta Thespians took home First Place in Region 5 7A. The win propelled their journey toward the state competition Saturday, February 13. The competition requires a performance of published plays or musicals; students must move their set onstage, perform the work, strike the set, and clear the stage within an hour. The director usually takes the play and cuts it down to 55 minutes to allow for set-up and breakdown. Under the guidance of AHS Theatre Director Sarah Stoffle, the group’s chosen work was a 2015 original, award-winning play “Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic,” by playwright Matt Fox. It is a comedic retelling of the Harry Potter series from the House of Hufflepuff perspective. Jurors judge on staging, vocalization, characterization, and overall script interpretation.


  • Cambridge High’s Athletic Director Lesley Broadwell was named Georgia Athletic Director Association (GADA) Region 7-6A Athletic Director of the Year. Cambridge Cross Country Coach, Brad Coulter was named 76A Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Georgia Track and Cross County Coaches Association (GTCCCA). Broadwell’s award is voted on by Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Region 7 6A athletic directors.

    The Athletic Director award results from a successful overall organization of their program, willingness to host region tournaments and run them smoothly, all the while working and communicating well with other ADs and schools. Broadwell is currently the only female AD in Region 7 6A. Region ADs of the Year are recognized at the spring GADA conference.

    Coach Coulter led Cambridge’s Boys Cross Country team to a Region and State Championship in the fall 2020 season. Coulter’s recognition by the GTCCCA is for his incredible wins with his team. “Brad is an amazing coach and teacher, and we are very fortunate to have him at Cambridge,” said Broadwell.


Cool Kids (and schools and staff) Doing Cool Things  

  • Conley Hills Elementary Art Teacher Lauren Merceron was featured on “Teaching Artist Podcast” episode 38. The podcast is dedicated to discussions of teaching art to kids, making art, and how those things overlap and feed each other. In the episode, Lauren shares her struggles with dyslexia and how she has learned to embrace her unique challenges and value her strengths.


  • Chattahoochee High sophomore Riley Akers recently illustrated a children’s book in collaboration with her mother, June Akers. Entitled “Riley Madison: Discovers the Superpower of a List,” the book was published in December 2020.

    A youth fiction chapter book, the story centers around 8-year-old Riley Madison, who often struggles staying focused, getting organized, and completing tasks. Like many people with ADHD, the character (and real-life student who inspired the book) has what her mother describes as “a brilliant, overactive mind” that sometimes gets in the way of her productivity. Ms. Akers, a former teacher, said she wanted to write this book for years and knew when Riley was in elementary school that kids needed her story. Drawing on her teaching experience and parenting books for learned strategies to help her students and Riley be successful, she created a story that she hopes will help students with similar challenges. “I realized that most little people, and even adults, need life skills and strategies to help us get focused and complete ALL the things required of us,” said Akers.

    Though Riley wasn’t quite ready when her mom approached her several years ago with the proposal to illustrate the book, citing the need for more practice, 2020 was the year it came together. Now, the book is a #1 New Release on Amazon in multiple categories. The duo’s second book “Riley Madison Discovers the Superpower of Time” is due out in summer 2021.  


In Case You Missed It  

  • Asa Hilliard Elementary received a donation from The Tyler Perry Foundation and SA Recycling to purchase over 150 coats for students. East Point City Council member Stephanie Gordon and Community Leader Clyde Mitchell joined Principal Maureen Lilly for the January 25 presentation.

Tyler Perry Clothing Drive

Asa Hilliard boy at Tyler Perry Clothing Drive


Asa Hilliard

Asa Hilliard Principal Maureen Lilly, Shirley's Haven Founder Clyde Mitchell, and East Point City Council member Stephanie Gordon.


  • Jarvis Adams, an educator with over 24 years of experience, has been named Westlake High’s new principal.  Adams,who most recently was principal of Camp Creek Middle, begins his new role February 1.

    As an assistant principal at Westlakefrom 2013 to 2018,Adamsacquired the skills that now serve as a solid foundation of quality leadership in school curriculum and decision-making. It was during this time that he supported the improvement in teaching and learning outcomes. Including a schoolwide initiative of a balanced assessment calendar, a 19% increase of student mastery on the U. S. History Georgia Milestones, a 25% increase of student mastery on the Economics Georgia Milestones, and an outperformance of the national trend on the Advanced Placement exams in Social Studies for African American students.


  • Fulton County Schools received a generous donation of $10,500 from Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC), one of the largest architecture and engineering firms in the Southeast, and their corporate partners on January 20, 2021. The big check was presented to the district for the purchase of student earbuds to support remote learning.

    “GMC is just one of several partners who worked to make this contribution possible,” said Amy Bell, GMC Vice President of Architecture. “Part of our mission at GMC is to ‘create opportunities for our people and the people we serve.’ Being able to help provide Fulton County students with the tools they need to learn during this challenging time goes together with that mission, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to be part of this effort.”

    GMC’s partners, AH&P Consulting Engineers, Balfour Beatty Construction, Carrol Daniel Construction, MBA Consulting Engineers, Mingledorff’s, Inc., and PES Structural Engineers, collaborated in the funding and the live celebration. The ear buds will come with an Engagement Kit from Student Services.