Benefield Elementary School
1221 Old Norcross Road; Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Years Principal 1982–1988 Allen Bower 1988–1994 Ann Adams 1994–2000 Larry Smith 2000–2005 Barbara Hopkins 2005–2010 Ronald Boyd 2010–2015 Dr. Melissa Walker 2015–Present Shonda Stevens
School Colors: Navy Blue, Gray, and Green
School Mascot: Titans
Board of Education
Louise Radloff - Chairman
Carole Boyce - Vice Chairman
Dr. Robert McClure
Dr. Mary Kay Murphy
Daniel D. Seckinger
CEO/Superintendent: J. Alvin Wilbanks
Architect: Lindsay, Pope, Brayfield & Associates,
Contractor: H Construction Company
Dedication Date: 2008
Benefield Elementary School was named for J.W. Benefield, former Gwinnett School Superintendent of Schools. Mr. Benefield served in that capacity from 1967–77. He was born in the Dacula-Harbins area and graduated from the University of Georgia. He began his 26-year career in education in 1950 as an agriculture teacher at Bethesda High School and Central Gwinnett High School. In 1977, he was named “Outstanding School Superintendent of the Year” by the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders. Also, he is a member of the Gwinnett County Association of Educators’ Hall of Fame.
Benefield Elementary was originally located adjacent to Oakland Center at 970 McElvaney Lane in Lawrenceville. In fact, the lunchroom was actually shared by the two schools. The concept of its location was that it would be beneficial for the special education students at Oakland to associate with the regular education students at Benefield Elementary. Over the years, both student populations profited from the joined school.
The school opened in August of 1982. It opened to relieve growth in the areas served by Lawrenceville Elementary, Gwin Oaks Elementary, Dyer Elementary, Bethesda Elementary, and B.B. Harris Elementary.
During the late 1980s (1987–88), Benefield had the distinction of being the largest elementary school in Georgia. The enrollment in 1986–87 was 1,450 children in grades K–5. In 1987–88, the enrollment was 1,450 students in grades K–4. The fifth-grade students were housed at Richards Middle School during that school year, due to lack of space at Benefield.
Benefield’s staff has earned numerous awards over the years, including a staff member who was named Georgia Science Teacher of the Year.
The Benefield school mascot was changed in 2001 from the Buccaneer to a Lighthouse. The school colors were also changed from light and dark blue to red, white and blue to coordinate with other schools in the Berkmar cluster.
In August of 2007, Oakland School moved from the 970 McElvaney Lane address in Lawrenceville which it shared with Benefield students to a new location. The move offered Benefield Elementary students and staff additional facility space until a replacement elementary school was completed for the 2008–09 school year.
In 2008, Benefield Elementary relocated to its current location of 1221 Old Norcross Road in Lawrenceville. When Benefield opened in 2008, the Reading Recovery training site was moved from Oakland School to the new Benefield Elementary. The training site has two full-size classrooms and a one-way observation glass. Over the past 20 years, Reading Recovery has trained 270 teachers to impact more than 13,000 students.
In 2013 and 2014, two teachers from Benefield were named Georgia Master Teachers, a recognition based on excellence of student achievement and growth. Benefield has received numerous academic honors over the years, including being named a Distinguished Title I School and receiving High Progress High Rewards status for the high performance of students on state assessments.
Benefield joined the Discovery Cluster for the 2015– 2016 school year, joining the new Discovery High School, Richards Middle School, Alford Elementary School, Baggett Elementary School, and Cedar Hill Elementary. In becoming a part of the new cluster, Benefield underwent its third mascot and color change in its history. Benefield’s new mascot is the Titan with school colors of grey, navy blue, and green.