Summerour Middle School
321 Price Place; Norcross, GA 30071
Years Principal 1964–1973 L.D. Strickland 1973–1978 Eugene Whatley 1978–1982 Lowell Ensey 1982–1983 Betty Bentley 1983–1986 Charles Meagher 1986–1989 Ron Pennington 1989–1996 Wanda Yeargin 1996–2000 Gale Hey 2000–2004 Jaime Espinosa 2004–2009 Dana Pugh 2009–2019 Dorothy Parker-Jarrett June 2019–Present Dr. Natalie Looney
School Colors: Blue and Silver
School Mascot: Blue Devils
Board of Education
Carole Boyce - Chairman
Daniel D. Seckinger - Vice Chairman
Dr. Robert McClure
Dr. Mary Kay Murphy
CEO/Superintendent: J. Alvin Wilbanks
Architect: Lindsay Pope Brayfield Clifford & Assoc., Inc.
Contractor: Carroll Daniel Construction
Dedication Date: 2015
For more than 50 years, Summerour Middle School was located at 585 Mitchell Road in Norcross before it moved up the hill to its current location. However, the school’s story begins during the years 1957–1964, when students from the Summerour school area attended Norcross Junior High School located on College Avenue in the buildings that were built in 1903 and 1914. Norcross High vacated these buildings in 1957 when the new Norcross High School opened on Beaver Ruin Road on property that had belonged to Lalah Simpson Summerour. When approached about the sale of this property for the construction of a high school and a future middle school, she informed the inquirers that she would not sell the property but would give as many acres as were needed. She gave 17 acres. These 17 acres were used for Norcross High School, the football field and Summerour Middle School.
When Summerour opened for the 1964–65 school year, it included grades five through eight. The school system moved to a middle school concept of sixth, seventh, and eight grades in school year 1970–71. The county had only five middle schools at this time: Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Snellville, and Summerour. The enrollment at Summerour for that school year was 850.
With the philosophy of the middle school, additional space was needed for exploratory subjects. A wing was added for the school year 1971–72. This included five classrooms and an industrial arts lab. Another wing was added in 1978–79. This consisted of four classrooms, two science labs, a band and music room, and offices for counselors.
Enrollment rose to 1,378 during the 1982–1983 school year. This required 66 faculty members, one instructional lead teacher, two assistant principals, and a principal. This also required nine portable classrooms. Pinckneyville Middle School was built soon after, alleviating Summerour’s crowded population and, in order to utilize newfound space, ninth grade students from Norcross High School attended morning classes on the Summerour campus from 1985–1987.
The student enrollment at the school in 1988–89 was 758. By 1996-1997 the campus was in need of further expansion and renovations were made. In 2000- 2001, another addition was made and 8 more classrooms were added. By this time enrollment was just under 1,000 year after year. Summerour’s population has burgeoned since 2010, breaking the 1,000 student mark and surpassing the 1982– 1983 peak. In the 2014–2015 school year, Summerour’s population sat at 1,536.
To help address the growth in the Norcross Cluster, Norcross High School moved from its location on Beaver Ruin Road to a new facility located on Spalding Drive. The old Norcross High facility housed a number of programs for a few years, including Gwinnett Online Campus and GIVE West. Ultimately this old facility was torn down and a new Summerour Middle School facility was built at that site. The new Summerour Middle School opened in 2015. Its former facility on Mitchell Road was demolished and is the site where a new elementary school was built.
The school mascot has changed over time, morphing from “The Rebel” to “The Red Devil,” to “The Sentinel” and “The Shark.” The mascot is now “The Blue Devil,” and the original school colors of red, white, and blue are now blue and silver, both coordinating with the high school’s mascot and colors.
Summerour was selected as the Gwinnett County Middle School of Excellence and as a Georgia Middle School of Excellence for the 1988–1989 school year. Summerour’s excellence was recognized in 1997 when it again received the designation “Georgia School of Excellence.” In 2002, Summerour was nominated as a President’s “No Child Left Behind” Blue Ribbon School for the state of Georgia. In 2004–2005 Summerour became an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program Candidate School, and was shortly thereafter granted full IB status, making the Norcross Cluster the first IB cluster in Gwinnett County.
In January, 2011, GCPS selected Summerour Middle School as a pilot site for Junior Leadership Corps. JLC grew out of a joint vision between the U.S. Army and the National Association of State Boards of Education as a result of their mutual interest in graduating successful, productive leaders. The program continues to grow within Gwinnett County, but it started here.
Summerour also has been recognized through the years in Debate, Chess, Jazz Bands, Peer Leadership, and Art. Principal Dorothy Parker-Jarrett was selected as the Gwinnett County Counseling Advocate of the Year. She became the 2012 Regional, State, then National Counseling Advocate of the Year. In 2014, Summerour was recognized as an ASCA RAMP school, a national counseling award, and is one of only 22 schools in Gwinnett to receive this honor. In 2013–14, and again in 2014-15, Summerour student artists have won trips to Istanbul, Turkey through the Atlantic Institute Art & Essay contest. Summerour was named a 2015 Breakout School by the Georgia Association of Secondary Principals. And it received a received a 2016 High Flying Schools Award at the 27th Annual Youth-At- Risk Conference.
Innovation continues to be a hallmark of the school as evidenced by its Environmental Education Center, which includes outdoor classrooms, a progressive STEM curriculum, and community-based urban agriculture and environmental stewardship program. In 2017, the school district budgeted for an eSTEAM Academy at Summerour Middle as a means to better prepare students for the options available to them at the high school level (IB, JA Academy, and the technology focus of the Paul Duke STEM High School which opened in 2018).
Much of the school’s success can be connected back to the community it serves as Summerour is a true example of The old Summerour Middle School facility that was located on Mitchell Road. how good communities build good schools. The City Of Norcross, the business community and local churches are very supportive of Summerour Middle School. They have donated thousands of dollars to fund the Success Saturday program, school uniforms, a four color electronic marquee and an asphalt track.
More about the Summerour Family
The Summerour’s story begins with three siblings from Sommerau village in central Germany in 1748: Heinrich, Johannes, and Susannah. Upon arriving in the new land, their names were changed to Henry, John, and Susan Summerour. Henry’s descendants would trek through Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. After moving to Texas to be a cowboy, Norcross farmer Homer Summerour, returned home.
Described by some as a “tinkerer,” he developed a more productive variety of cotton in the early 1900s. This cotton was known as Half and Half. He was soon nationally known. People around the nation would send letters requesting samples, but have no more address than “Cotton Seed Man, Georgia.” The letters would find their way to Homer. Margaret Eulalia “Lala” Simpson was a local Norcross girl who married Tom Ed Summerour, Homer’s brother. Homer’s sister-in-law made the land donation that Summerour Middle School is built upon. Lala did not live to see the middle school built on the property she donated, but she did see the high school open its doors and continue the business of educating the children of Norcross.