Good news from schools: 11 Gwinnett educators earn prestigious teaching certificate

Eleven Gwinnett County Public Schools educators this year have earned National Board Certification, the most prestigious credential a teacher can earn.

National Board Certification is a voluntary assessment program that typically takes one to three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. As part of the process, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, videotapes and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching. Additionally, teachers are assessed on their knowledge of the subjects they teach.

The Gwinnett group is part of a total of 89 Georgia educators who this year achieved this advanced teaching credential. Since National Board for Professional Teaching Standards began in 1987, more than 2,400 educators have earned the certification. Gwinnett County leads the state with 233 nationally certified teachers.

Here is a list of newly certified teachers and the schools they at which were working when they applied:

Juliana Anglada - Five Forks Middle

Brooks Baggett - North Gwinnett High

Susan Baldwin - North Gwinnett High

Diana Beverley - Lilburn Elementary

Michelle Bowden - Norcross High

Cindy Clark - Meadowcreek Elementary

John Culligan - Five Forks Middle

Joan Egbert - Lawrenceville Elementary

Ann Schintzius - Norcross High

Camilla Thompson-Stith - Shiloh High

Glenda Young - Norcross High

Gwinnett Tech student named Early Childhood Education Student of the Year

The Georgia Association on Young Children has named Gwinnett Technical College student James Peas the Early Childhood Education Student of the Year

Peas, who is one class away from earning his associate's degree in early childhood education, was recognized for his outstanding potential and existing contributions to his young students and the field.

In nominating Peas, Priscilla Smith, Gwinnett Tech's early childhood education program director, recognized him as an outstanding student, a campus leader and a sought-after teacher. Peas is a full-time teacher in a Georgia-funded prekindergarten classroom at the D. Scott Hudgens Jr. Early Education Center at Gwinnett Tech. The Center provides students studying early childhood education at Gwinnett Tech a hands-on experience in a quality learning environment, while simultaneously serving as a nurturing educational center for children 6 weeks to 12 years old.

"James Peas is a gifted teacher, even at this early point in his career," Smith said. "Children are drawn to his respectful teaching style and mannerisms. Parents actively request placement in his room for their children. He serves as an exemplary role model for the children placed in his room and the college students who observe his teaching techniques."

Peas has already earned other academic honors at Gwinnett Tech, including the 2007 Silver Medal at the Georgia Postsecondary Preschool Teaching Assistant competition for SkillsUSA, the GTC Certificate of Merit Award and a nomination for the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership.

Duluth High principal joins the NASSP Board of Directors

Duluth High Principal Patrick Blenke has begun a three-year term as a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals Board of Directors.

Blenke joins 23 other middle and high school principals from across the nation to serve on the organization known as the voice for middle and high school leaders. The association promotes high professional standards, focuses attention on school leaders' challenges, builds public confidence in education and strengthens the role of the principal as an instructional leader.

"It is truly an honor," Blenke said of his appointment. "Through my work with NASSP, I am informed of and experiencing many researched-based practices that are successfully being implemented in middle and high schools across the country. I can take thesefor the company's part in recycling, Levetan said, "We recycle all fluids and even mercury switches."

One switch, about the size of a kidney bean, can pollute 132,000 gallons of water. So far Pull-A-Part has recycled 1,600 switches, containing enough mercury to pollute a 32-acre lake 20 feet deep.

Because so much of each car is recycled before it is flattened and taken to the shredder, Pull-A-Part generates 22 percent less waste than other car salvage places.

I stroked the carpet on the lid of a trunk. "This is like brand new," I said. "Does anyone buy this carpet for dog beds or cats' scratching posts?"

"Not yet that I know of, but they could," he said.

We went over to what looked like a tire graveyard and I had to ask, "Are you old enough to remember back in the '60s when they recycled tires into sandals?"

"I still have mine," he said as we both cracked up. "There are still little craft markets like that, but most tires are recycled into fuel for paper mills or playground surfaces."

If this success story were only a Gwinnett phenomenon, that alone would be remarkable. But as Pull-A-Part celebrates its 10th anniversary, it claims 21 locations nationwide. And part of that success was because in the beginning, being green was so easy.

"Gwinnett County is so environmentally aware. Connie Wiggins does such a great job with Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. It's good being in that type of community," said Levetan, who has worked with Pull-A-Part since its inception.

And Pull-A-Part helps save more than just the environment. "We let the fire departments come in and practice pulling people out of cars with the jaws-of-life. Where else could they practice that?" said Levetan.

As we headed back to the building, I noticed a few broken tail lights. "Those could make really neat sun catchers or fake stained glass," I said. "Do people salvage them?"

"Not yet that I know of."

"Hey, didn't you say your wife does mosaics?"

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.