R.D. Head Elementary School
1801 Hewatt Road; Lilburn, GA 30047
Years Principal 1979–1984 Hugh D. May 1984–1987 Virginia Crowley 1987–1993 Betty Robinson 1993–1997 Paula Deweese 1997–Dec. 2000 Mary Ray Jan. 2001–2003 Yvonne Frey 2003–2008 Michelle Farmer 2008–2010 Leigh Westcott 2010– 2017 Christine Knox 2017- Present
Lisa Marie Johnson
School Colors: Gold and Maroon
School Mascot: Mustang
R.D. Head Elementary School was founded due to the expanding growth occurring in the late 1970s in the Snellville/Lilburn area. A combination of state-earned funds and a bond referendum provided the money to build a relief school for this rapidly growing area. Gwin Oaks and Centerville Elementary Schools sent the largest number of students to Head with additional students coming from Britt and Knight Elementary.
The school first opened in August of 1979 with an enrollment of 850 students which surpassed the intended capacity of 750. Two portable classrooms were added that year to accommodate a 4th and 5th grade classroom. The leadership of Head Elementary first began with Hugh D. May, 1979–1984, and one instructional lead teacher, Jackie Perry. Mr. May was succeeded by the following principals: Virginia Crowley, 1984–1987; Betty Robinson, 1987–1993; Paula Deweese, 1993–1997; Mary Ray, 1997– December of 2000; Yvonne Frey, January of 2001–2003; Michelle Farmer, 2003–2008; Leigh Westcott, 2008– 2010; Christine Knox, 2010–2017, and Lisa Johnson 2017-Present.
The school derived its name from a 35-year educator in the Snellville area, Ralph David Head. On August 19, 1915, Mr. Head was born on a farm in Jackson County, Georgia, one of four brothers and two sisters.
He graduated from Jefferson County High School in 1933 and then graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. Mr. Head later earned a Master’s of Education degree in Administration. Mr. Head was a director of The Bank of Gwinnett, the first bank in Snellville. He also was an active member of the Snellville United Methodist Church, Lion’s Club, past Master in the Mason’s, and ran the cannery in Snellville during the summers. During his 35 years of teaching, he taught agriculture and shop at Grayson High School, Snellville High, and at South Gwinnett High School. On October 2, 1964, he became the principal of South Gwinnett after the sudden death of Victor Knight. He retired on July 1, 1973, and then decided to run for political office as a Representative in the Legislature. He won the primary election but died the day before the primaries on November 2, 1974. His wife, Mildred Head taught in Gwinnett until her retirement in 1981, and his only daughter, Katie Head, was a teacher at Head Elementary until her untimely death in 1982.
R.D. Head continues to be an influential leader in the community for which it serves. Because of strong parental involvement, the Head Elementary PTA has been recognized many times as an outstanding PTA both in its region and the state. The PTA also was extremely instrumental in establishing the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, which provides a safe environment for abused and neglected children in Gwinnett County. Academic expectations are set high for the staff and students of R.D. Head. The school was named a Georgia School of Excellence in 1990–1991 then went on to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1991–1992. R.D. Head was recognized again as a Georgia School of Excellence in 2006–2007 and 2012–2013. R.D. Head continuously is recognized as one of the top-performing schools on local, state, and national assessments. In addition, a robotics team from the school— the Unconditionals— was the Grand Prize Winner of the national Wonder League Robotics competition in 2016 and in 2019 placed 1st in the Gwinnett County First Lego League with their project being nominated for the Global Innovation Award.
Originally, the symbol of a hurricane was used to represent Head Elementary along with the colors of blue and silver. After the addition of Brookwood Elementary and the creation of the Brookwood Cluster concept, the mustang was adopted as the school’s mascot with the colors maroon and gold. In 2018, the mascot changed to the Bronco, representing the Brookwood Cluster United.
“A Tradition of Excellence” was established the day the doors of the school opened and permeates throughout the building still today. Every staff member, parent, and student lives the school vision each and every day. Our mission is to nurture and develop continuous learners by pursuing excellence in academic knowledge, skills, and behavior for each student through the implementation of best practices. We collaboratively assess and plan for progress toward academic achievement and social responsibility. Head Elementary is “Where Learning Comes First.”