History of McConnell Middle School
J. P. McConnell Middle School, which opened in August of 1996, is named for James Patterson McConnell (1854–1925), founder of Grayson and state legislator. During his lifetime, Mr. McConnell contributed greatly to the civic, economic, religious, and educational development of the Grayson community. Following the Civil War, the Grayson area had no schools for children to attend. Mr. McConnell believed learning to be essential and a building block for the future so he founded a school for the children of Grayson. Today’s school opened with 66 classrooms in 1996 as a part of the South Gwinnett Cluster. However, growth continued and when the school district opened Grayson High in 2000, McConnell became the middle school for the new cluster. With growth came the need for additional classrooms. A 48-classroom addition was built, opening in 2005.
As growth continued, a new high school was built in 2009— Archer High School— and McConnell Middle School became the feeder school for that new high school. Since its opening, McConnell has seen many changes, including, the school’s colors and mascot (Raptors), which changed in 2000 to green/gold and rams as the school became part of the new Grayson cluster, and again in 2009 as the school adopted the red/silver and red tigers of the Archer Cluster. McConnell Middle School, which has won awards at the state and national levels, exemplifies the success that a school focused on teaching and learning can experience. The school’s writing initiatives reflect the importance of making parents and teachers partners in the learning process. Over the years, the school has garnered a number of accolades at the student, teacher, and school levels. Among those include being named a Georgia School of Excellence twice and earning national recognition in 2005 when it was named an Intel/Scholastic School of Distinction and Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School. J. P. McConnell would be proud that the Gwinnett County Board of Education designated a middle school to bear his name. This award-winning school is a fitting legacy as a namesake, fostering an appreciation of education for the entire Grayson area community.