Gwinnett County Public Schools recently appointed a new assistant superintendent and three new elementary school principals.

Paula Thompson will be the new principal at Arcado Elementary School while Aleshia Duckworth will be the new principal at Corley Elementary School and Tonya Burnley will be the new principal at Head Elementary School. All three are replacing principals who are retiring in December.

Meanwhile, Jordan Middle School Principal Melissa Walker has been appointed as a new assistant superintendent for elementary schools, and will replace retired assistant superintendent Donna Ledford.

Thompson comes to Arcado from Harbins Elementary School, where she has been an assistant principal since 2012. She previously served as a fifth grade and gifted education teacher at McKendree Elementary School from 1998 to 2006 and a gifted teacher at Alcova Elementary School from 2006 until 2012.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kennesaw State University, a master’s degree in foundations in education from Troy University, a specialist’s degree in teacher leadership and a doctorate in teacher leadership from Walden University and a educational leadership certificate from Georgia State University.

Thompson will replace retiring Arcado Principal Penny Young.

Duckworth has been assistant principal at Sycamore Elementary School since 2019 and previously served as an assistant principal at Corley Elementary School from 2015 to 2019, an instructional coach and teacher at Jenkins Elementary School from 2010 until 2015 and a fifth grade teacher at Winn Holt Elementary School from 2008 until 2010.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from North Carolina A&T State University, a master’s degree in reading and literacy from Walden University and a specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Argosy University.

Duckworth will replace retiring Corley Elementary principal Ruth Tomlinson.

Burnley is coming to Head Elementary School after having served as the principal at Magill Elementary School since 2017. She was previously the principal at Gwin Oaks Elementary School from 2012 until 2017, the assistant principal at Meadowcreek Elementary School from 2007 to 2012, a teacher at Snellville Middle School from 2006 to 2007 and a teacher at Magill Elementary School from 2003 to 2006.

She was also a teacher at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Fulton County Schools from 2001 to 2003, an Insurance Agent with Allstate and InsurAmerica from 1998 to 2001 and an adjunct professor at Thomas University since 2017.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in elementary education from Georgia State University, a specialist’s degree in administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Mercer University.

Burnley will replace retiring Head Elementary School Principal Lisa Marie Johnson.

And Walker is joining the assistant Superintendent ranks after having served as Jones Middle School’s principal since 2015. She previously served as the principal at Benefield Elementary School from 2010 to 2015, assistant principal at Richards Middle School from 2005 to 2010 and special education teacher at Crews Middle School from 1999 to 2005.

Prior to joining Gwinnett County Public Schools, Walker served as a special education teacher in Clayton County Public Schools from 1998 to 1999, a special education teacher in the Milpitas Unified School District in California from 1996 to 1998, a special education teacher in the Alief Independent School District in Texas from 1993 to 1996, a behavior specialist and special education teacher for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Germany from 1990 to 1993 and a special education teacher in the Alief Independent School District from 1987 to 1990.

Walker earned her bachelor’s degree in curriculum and instruction, her master’s degree in educational administration and her doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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