Berkmar Middle School
4355 Lawrenceville Highway; Lilburn, GA 30047
Years Principal 2004–2006 Dr. Barbara Lunsford 2006–Oct. 2013 Kenney Wells Nov. 2013–2014 José DeJesus 2014–Nov. 2018 Nicole Tubbs Nov. 2018–Present Kaneshia Robinson
School Colors: Red and Blue
School Mascot: Patriots
Board of Education
Daniel Seckinger - Chairman
Dr. Robert McClure - Vice Chairman
Dr. Mary Kay Murphy
Dr. Billy Britt
Superintendent: J.Alvin Wilbanks
Architect: Cooper Carry, Inc.
Contractor: Nix-Fowler Constructors, Inc.
Dedication Date: 2004
Berkmar Middle School was built in 2004 to alleviate crowded conditions at Sweetwater Middle School. Both Berkmar and Sweetwater middle schools feed into Berkmar High School. The name Berkmar was coined in 1966 when two voting districts, Berkshire and Martin, were merged to form one community to support public education. Berkmar High School was built that year. We are proud to share the high school’s name and the Patriot mascot.
The land on which Berkmar was built had originally been inhabited by the Lower Creek Indians. After the land lottery in 1820, this land was allocated and became a family farm for over 200 years. Cotton and other crops were grown on this land. One of the original buildings, which was used as a blacksmith shop, is still standing on our property. Berkmar Middle classes frequently walk to the creek and blacksmith shop, making science and social studies connections. Margaret and Bob Stuebing, descendants of the original owners, sold this property to Gwinnett County Public Schools in 2002. Located at 4355 Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn, Berkmar serves the children and families from Lilburn, Norcross, Duluth, and Lawrenceville.
Completed in June of 2004, Berkmar Middle School held its dedication ceremony on September 26, 2004. Dr. Barbara Lunsford, Berkmar’s founding principal, welcomed all the guests, which included Berkmar staff, students, families, county officials, and community members. The day’s events also included remarks from School Board members and CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. The program closed with teachers Beau Dominguez and Claudette Onumah presenting the school’s “Principles of Teaching and Learning.”
Dr. Lunsford served as principal for the 2004–05 school year and for the first semester of the 2005–06 school year. When Dr. Lunsford retired in January of 2006, Mr. Kenney Wells, formerly an assistant principal at Osborne Middle School, became Berkmar’s new principal. When Mr. Wells returned to Osborne as its principal in 2013, Jose DeJesus became Berkmar Middle’s principal. He was followed by Nicole Tubbs who became the school’s principal in 2014. Mrs. Tubbs served as principal until November of 2018 when she was tapped to become the principal of a new theme high school in the Meadowcreek Cluster. At that time, the Board of Education named Kaneshia Robinson as Berkmar’s new leader.
In its first year, Berkmar served 980 students. It has continued to grow over the years, In 2015, after the student population continued to surge in the western part of Gwinnett County, the Discovery cluster opened to relieve the Berkmar and Central Gwinnett clusters. Berkmar Middle School’s attendance boundaries were redrawn, and its feeder elementary schools became G.H. Hopkins Elementary and Rebecca Minor Elementary. Even with the redistricing, the school served nearly 1,200 students in 2016.
Berkmar Middle School serves a culturally diverse student body. Ninety-one percent of students receive free or reduced lunch. While the school’s enrollment has remained fairly consistent, the number of student served in the gifted education program has more than doubled since the school opened. Additionally, Berkmar Middle School has a robust special education department. The school houses a program for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students. Other special education programs serve students with autism, moderate intellectual disabilities, specific learning disabilities, and speech/language impairments.
The school’s building is two stories, with 6th and 7th grade classes housed on the first floor and 8th grade classes on the second floor. The school has three computer labs and a media center complete with a TV production facility. The gymnasium includes a fitness room for staff and students and there is also a spacious athletic field behind the school with a full track. The Health and Physical Education Department has been awarded nearly $135,000 in grants, which have been used to furnish the school’s fitness center, buy gym equipment, and install the track. In 2014, the school also received a grant from the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to repair orchestra equipment.
The school also offers a variety of academic enrichment opportunities through its Connections classes and clubs. Connections classes allow students to explore different types of electives available in high school. Berkmar Middle School’s Connections classes include physical education, health, journalism, art, band, orchestra, and Math, Language Arts, and STEM enrichment. As of 2015, 8th grade students who are gifted and academically talented have the opportunity to earn high school credits in Algebra or Accelerated Algebra, Physical Science, Biology, and Spanish.
In the fall of 2005, a Title I Schoolwide Committee comprised of teachers, parents, and administrators began to work on a schoolwide plan, which was approved by the state in 2006. All Berkmar Middle School students benefit from Title I services, which include federal funds used to hire additional staff, to purchase instructional materials and technology, and to provide opportunities for collaborative instructional planning. Every classroom is equipped with an interactive SMART Board, and the school also has carts of laptops for teams of teachers to share. Additionally, as Berkmar Middle is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) school, students can use their own devices to access technology for instructional activities.
Berkmar Middle also is proud to participate in the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, which was fully implemented during 2015–16 and focuses on three R’s— Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Ready. This program is just one more example of the school’s commitment to its students and to high standards. Over the years, Berkmar Middle School has blazed a path of excellence in academics, arts, and athletics, one that helps all students to reach their full potential.