Our Awesome Educators Earn Atlanta Families’ Awards

KIPPI am proud to announce that this year, five APS teachers and one APS principal received the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE).  Educators receive this award when they demonstrate excellence in the classroom and in the Atlanta community.  This was my first time participating in these surprise announcements and it was so much fun.  The energy in the room was at a TEN and the look of shock on the face of each winner was priceless!  Congratulations to Principal Stephanie Johnson of Maynard Jackson High School, Tiffany Barnes of Garden Hills Elementary, Katie Carlson of Garden Hills Elementary, Elizabeth Emerson of Springdale Park Elementary, Jennifer Freeman of KIPP Strive Academy and Celeste McNeil, also of KIPP Strive Academy.

afaee_emerson_springdaleWinners will use a portion of their award to fund a school based project that will enhance the academic experience of students on their campus.  Whether it is Ms. Carlson’s new learning garden at Garden Hills Elementary School or Ms. McNeil’s Kindle reading project at KIPP Strive, each educator has planned a unique and engaging learning experience to share with their students.

afaee_ghills2014-008I am excited to also announce that pending Board approval this Monday, Katie McDowell, currently the co-founder and Executive Director of AFAEE, will become the district’s new Executive Director of Partnerships and Development!  Ms. McDowell has led the Atlanta Families’ Awards for the last nine years, recognizing and awarding over $2 million to high-achieving teachers and school leaders in APS and Fulton County Schools.  Her addition to our APS family will help build and sustain current and future partnerships in the district.

families_award_checkWe profiled all of our 2014 AFAEE winners on the district’s blog!  Click the links below to learn more about these awesome educators. Congratulations!

We profiled all of our 2014 AFAEE winners on the district’s blog!  Click the links below to learn more about these awesome educators. Congratulations!

Tiffany Barnes and Katie Carlson of Garden Hills Elementary:  http://talkupaps.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/atlanta-families-award-for-excellence-garden-hills-winners/

Elizabeth Emerson of Springdale Park Elementary:  http://talkupaps.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/meet-atlanta-families-award-winner-elizabeth-emerson/

Stephanie Johnson  of Maynard Jackson High School:  http://talkupaps.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/meet-stephanie-johnson-an-atlanta-families-awards-for-excellence-in-education-winner/

Jennifer Freeman of KIPP Strive Academy:  http://talkupaps.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/meet-atlanta-families-award-winner-jennifer-freeman/

Celeste McNeil of KIPP Strive Academy: http://talkupaps.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/meet-atlanta-families-award-winner-celeste-mcneil/

Students are Sprouting at Garden Hills Elementary


Thank you Ms. Tran and Ms. Green for allowing me to dance with your class!

When I entered the lobby of Garden Hills Elementary, I was immediately greeted by photos of former students dating back to 1938.  This school has an extremely rich history, having recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.  

Principal Tommy Usher is an energetic principal who leads a group of almost 600 students from diverse backgrounds.  An International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, signs posted above doorways remind students of the character traits exhibited by IB learners, such as inquiry, tolerance and creativity.   

GH8I stopped by to see the media center where Mr. Jolly, the school’s new media specialist, told me that the Accelerated Reader program would be used as an incentive this school year and that the library had enough books for an average of 20 books per student.

Ms. J. Brooks was busy in her classroom working on interactive notebooks with her 3rd graders while Ms. Inzina had her students participating activities around sentence fragments.  It was great to see that ESOL students were being pushed “in” to class and receiving their instruction alongside their English speaking peers with the support of ESOL teacher Ms. Settles.

GH1The next time I visit I will make sure it is on a Friday – I saw  that the school celebrates “frozen Fridays” with sweet treats and I would love to participate!




I love how Garden Hills celebrates their school history.