Jordan Middle School
8 Village Way; Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Years Principal 2015–Present Dr. Melissa E. Walker
School Colors: Black and Gold
School Mascot: Knight
Board of Education
Carole Boyce - Chairman
Daniel D. Seckinger - Vice Chairman
Dr. Robert McClure
Dr. Mary Kay Murphy
CEO/Superintendent: J. Alvin Wilbanks
Architect: CGLS Architects
Contractor: Barton Malow Company
Dedication Date: 2015
Jordan (pronounced Jer-dan) Middle School, which opened in August 2015, is dedicated to the memory of H. Rhodes Jordan, Sr., a true son of Lawrenceville. H. Rhodes Jordan, Sr. holds an extraordinary place in the history of Lawrenceville. He was proud that, except for time at school and in the service during World War II, he lived only in Lawrenceville. He served off and on as mayor for eight terms, winning and losing elections, but returning again and again to serve the city he loved.
Hilliard Rhodes Jordan, Sr. was born to Albert Barton Jordan and Maude Lee Jordan on October 16, 1918, in their home on Stone Mountain Street. His first name came from an uncle, the second referenced a Dr. Rhodes who delivered him during the influenza pandemic of 1918. He was known to everyone as “Rhodes.”
Politics ran in the family. At one time, Rhodes’ grandfather, Will Jordan, was appointed to run the city’s paupers’ home. Will was a Lawrenceville councilman in 1922 and served eight years. Albert Jordan, Rhodes’ father, served on the city council for two terms beginning in 1939 and won another term in 1946.
Rhodes graduated from Lawrenceville High in 1936. His studies included a class in “Expression” with Virginia Ezzard, an exacting teacher in whose class he learned the art of public speaking. Despite talk of his becoming a minister, Rhodes chose military school. He attended Georgia Military Academy, and later Emory University. On the advice of his father, he entered Atlanta Law School, but his studies were cut short by World War II. Rhodes joined the United States Navy in January 1942, serving as a signalman in the South Pacific. At the time of his discharge in December 1945, he had achieved the rank of Petty Officer, Second Class.
Following military service, Rhodes returned to law school. Early in 1946 he met Willela Allison from Cleveland, Georgia, who was in Lawrenceville working as a wartime caseworker. They were married on August 30, 1946. Rhodes graduated from law school and took the bar oath on August 11, 1947. That year he won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives and served through 1948. A second term in the House followed in 1953–54.
Rhodes is best known for his eight terms as mayor of Lawrenceville. He was elected first in 1962 and re-elected in 1964 and 1966. Following losses to Bill Fortune in 1968 and 1970, Rhodes regained the mayor’s seat in 1974 and 1976, lost re-election in 1978, then was returned to office in 1980, 1982, and 1986. A local legend not only for his dedication to city politics, but also for his phenomenal memory, he could easily recall events decades past, noting people, places and events, time of day, and weather conditions.
Always active in the community, Rhodes was a member of the Lawrenceville Kiwanis Club and served as its president in 1950. He was the youngest deacon to serve at First Baptist Church, Lawrenceville, and co-taught Sunday School classes with Walter Alford for over 40 years. He was a senior member of the Gwinnett Bar Association, a member of the Lawrenceville Masonic Lodge 131, a life member of the American Foreign Legion Post 262, and served on the board of directors of Brand Banking Company. Dedication to community service won Rhodes the Public Service Award from the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce in 1988 and the Public Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services in 1989. In the early 1980s, Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville was named in his honor.
From 1948 until his death in 1993, Rhodes Jordan lived and raised his family in their home on Culver Street in Lawrenceville. Although a staunch Democrat, he would vote for Republicans if he had strong beliefs in an individual or his/her cause. He enjoyed the practice of law and considered himself a “people’s lawyer” who did not specialize in newsworthy cases but was content to handle legal matters and keep an open door for anyone who wanted to come in and talk.
Rhodes Jordan’s office, on the floor above what had been his father’s general store, looked out on the Courthouse Square. From that vantage point he watched activities and developments in the city of Lawrenceville from 1930 until his death on March 25, 1993. Today the former store and law offices are restored as the Rhodes Jordan Building, and a plaque featuring the likeness of H. Rhodes Jordan, Sr. looks again upon the Courthouse Square.
The Jordan Middle School community celebrated the life of Mr. Jordan and the dedication of its new school on October 18, 2015. As a member of the Central Gwinnett Cluster, the school adopted black and gold as its colors and the Black Knight as its mascot. The school takes its motto “Leading a Community of Excellence” to heart as it seeks to develop students academically and socially, preparing them to take their place as tomorrow’s leaders and successful citizens in the 21st century.
A few of the success stories from this school’s brief history include:
- Five 8th Grade Students received President’s Award for Educational Excellence and 11 received the President’s Award for Educational Achievement;
- A number of 8th graders who earned high school Carnegie Credits for Algebra I and Physical Science;
- JMS student eCLASS usage exceeded countywide averages;
- Two students received 2nd place at the Gwinnett Science & Engineering Fair and five earned an honorable mention;
- A JMS STEM teacher received the Captain Planet Gardening Grant;
- JMS Honor Chorus students performed at the Georgia Music Educators Association District 13 Honors Chorus at the University of Georgia’s Classic Center in Athens;
- 6th and 8th Grade students participated in Junior Achievement Biztown and Finance Park;
- JMS 8th Grade students participated in Career Expo aligned with CGHS College and Career Academies at the Infinite Energy Center;
- Author Lola Schaefer mentored and guided our students in a summer writing camp
- Girls on the Run club completed a 5K at Georgia Tech;
- JMS Students donated more than 300 cans of food during our Great Days of Service;
- Jordan hosted the Middle and High School Math Institute for teachers and students;
- STRIVE students have the opportunity to acquire work experience in the JMS café;
- JMS Cafeteria is a Georgia Grown Test to promote local and healthy eating in schools across the state by supplying school nutrition directors with healthy recipes using Georgia Grown commodities;
- JMS students supported Central Gwinnett Soles 4 Souls Shoe drive, which donated hundreds of shoes for the homeless.
- JMS was selected in 2019 as one of 20 Georgia schools to receive $25,000 to fund implementation of computer coding curriculum, computer science-related professional development and training, equipment purchases, and the establishment of computer science certification pathways.