Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
970 McElvaney Lane; Lawrenceville, GA 30044
Years Principal 2007–2008 Dr. Banks Bitterman 2008– Nov. 2013 Dr. Jeff Mathews Dec. 2013– Present IV Bray
Board of Education
Carole Boyce - Chairman
Daniel D. Seckinger - Vice Chairman
Dr. Robert McClure
Dr. Marry Kay Murphy
CEO/Superintendent: J. Alvin Wilbanks
Architect: Hussey, Gay, Bell & De Young International, Inc.
Contractor: Carroll Daniel Construction Co., Inc.
Dedication Date: 2010
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) was established in 2007. The development of this new school, which was to become the district’s first charter school, began with research, national model reviews, on-site visits, meetings with school leaders, and curriculum studies. In composing its charter, approved by the Gwinnett County Board of Education in March of 2006, GSMST sought flexibility in curriculum design and schedule to pursue its vision of infinite possibilities for the school’s students. The school sought to nurture the talents and high potential of all students through a unique, challenging, and integrated curriculum in the focus areas of biosciences, engineering, and emerging technologies. A diverse range of university, community, and industry partners came together with school district representatives to ensure the success of GSMST. Members of the Inaugural Advisory Board were instrumental in helping to shape the curriculum and develop instructional programs by providing industry expertise, hands-on opportunities for students, mentors and partners, and by providing financial and material support.
GSMST opened on the Duluth High School Campus in 2007–08 and remained in that space for the following two school years. Operating independently with its own faculty and administration, GSMST had the use of 18 renovated classrooms and offices to support its vision of a 21st Century learning environment. Meanwhile, work began on a new stateof-the art facility on the site of the old Benefield Elementary School in Lawrenceville at the geographic center of Gwinnett County. In March of 2009, the school district hosted a special “topping off” ceremony, placing a special beam in the top of the atrium. The beam was signed by the students and staff of the school, members of the school board, and members of the Advisory Board. The new building opened in the fall of 2010, hosting GSMST’s first graduating class— the Class of 2010— as seniors.
Designed to house 1,200 students, the campus features specially-equipped classrooms, science labs, digital media production facilities for sound and video, and large project spaces dedicated to engineering, robotics, and art and design. The building also incorporates features frequently found in university and corporate settings: large lecture halls with videoconferencing capabilities and flexible floor plans, building-wide wireless networking, and comfortable common areas to foster community and collaboration.
Technology plays an integral role in supporting curriculum and instruction at GSMST. Through a 1:1 student laptop environment, students have instant access to eClass (Gwinnett County’s online learning platform), the Online Research Library, and industry standard software from Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, and more. Students also use their laptops to take advantage of blended learning opportunities within GSMST as well as online learning opportunities provided by GCPS, GA Tech, and other university partners. Teachers and students also have access to Smart interactive whiteboards, overhead LCD Projectors, language-learning labs, and instructional computer labs designed for CAD, 3D design and animation, application programming, and media production. GSMST’s mathematics faculty uses high-definition videoconferencing to deliver advanced classes to students at other Gwinnett County high schools as well.
Opening as a charter school, GSMST held a lottery each winter to determine its freshman class for the coming fall. The school draws its student population from middle schools across Gwinnett County. Although GSMST transitioned from being a charter school to being a specialty theme school, the lottery process continues each year due to its popularity as a school of choice for many eighth graders in Gwinnett County.
GSMST’s first decade was one of growth and high achievement. The inaugural class of 111 graduates paved the way for what is now a learning community of approximately 1,100 students each year. The Georgia Department of Education awarded initial STEM Certification in 2012 and STEM Certification renewal in 2017. The school has repeatedly been recognized by the Technology Association of Georgia as a leader in STEM education. GSMST leads Georgia in SAT, ACT, and CCRPI scores, and is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and The Washington Post. The challenging curriculum and high level of performance have made GSMST the top-ranked school in Georgia year after year. Each year, GSMST has over a dozen students chosen as National Merit Finalists and more than 50 students selected for the Governor’s Honors Program and named as National Advanced Placement Scholars.
In September of 2016, Gwinnett County Public Schools learned that Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) had been named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. In commenting about this national honor, Principal IV Bray shared, “Our students work so very hard in the classroom, in the lab, and at home to master a curriculum that is intertwined with career exploration, problem solving, and deep, creative thinking. However, our students are much Beam signed by students, staff, and advisory board members as part of the school’s topping off ceremony. more than the lofty assessment scores they produce. They are more than the languages they learn, the research they execute, and the capstone experiences they complete. Our students are well on their way to being strategic knowledge users in a knowledge economy.”
GSMST opened the 2018–19 school year— its twelfth school year— with the largest faculty and student body to date. The school continues to explore innovative programs for students while continually updating legacy programs to remain current in the ever changing STEM fields of the present and future. The Advisory Board continues to shape the curricular and programmatic work at GSMST through two working committees, one for Engineering and Robotics and another for Computer Science and Cyber Security. GSMST is currently adding Innovation, Maker, and Tinker Spaces to its facilities while also developing world-class professional learning programs for both veteran and novice STEM teachers. With an alumni network approaching 1,300 members, GSMST continues to foster a school culture where students outperform their predictors in pursuit of infinite possibilities.
GSMST’s Inaugural Advisory Board Members
Marsha Anderson Bomar, StreetSmarts
Travis Burroughs, Burson Construction Group
Renee Byrd-Lewis, Cisco Systems, Inc
Mike Clifford, Lindsay, Pope, Brayfield & Associates, Inc
Bill Davis, Evermore CID
Doug Dell, NCR
Jim DeVries, Nordson Corporation
Dr. Karen Falkenberg, Emory University
Dr. Phil Gibson, Gwinnett Technical College
Mani Krishnaswamy, Synergy America, Inc.
Mike Levengood, McKenna, Long, Aldridge, LLP
Gale Lightfoot, Jr., Cisco Systems, Inc.
Sam Lim, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Aaron Lupuloff, GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc.
Jim Maran, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
Nick Masino, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Cathy Maxwell, Gwinnett Technical College
Bill McCargo, Atlanta Education Fund
Warren McClellan, GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc.
Bob Miller, GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc.
Dr. Rich Millman, Georgia Institute of Technology
Chris Moder, ICAAP, University of Georgia
Michael Mondry, Nanston, Inc.
Dr. Tom Mundie, Georgia Gwinnett College
Sean Murphy, Canvas Systems
Dr. Lisa Newbern, Yerkes National Primate Center
Dr. David Pursell, Georgia Gwinnett College
Dr. Bala Ramesh, Georgia State University
Dr. Jeffrey Ray, Southern Polytechnic State University
Harry Reamer, Emtec, Inc.
Bill Russell, Russell Landscape Group
Raymer Sale, E2E Resources, Inc.
David Seago, Georgia Power
John Upchurch, Balfour
Dr. Marion Usselman, Georgia Institute of Technology
Roger Willis, Jackson EMC
Woody Woodruff, GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc.
Stacey Zeleznik, Nordson Corporation
Dr. Stuart Zola, Yerkes National Primate Center
Members from Gwinnett County Public Schools
J.Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent
Dr. Steve Flynt
Dr. Gale Hey
Gwinnett County Board of Education
Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, 2010 Chairman
Dr. Robert McClure, 2010 Vice Chairman