Principal

Mr. Kono Smith

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Mr. Kono Smith

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter to you as the incoming principal of Graves Elementary School. It is truly an honor to become a part of the Graves family and school community. Even though I have only had limited interactions with the faculty and parents thus far, I can already tell that it is a unique and special place that I am incredibly excited to become a part of.

I come to you with 22 years of experience as an educator. I started my career in South Georgia where I served as a classroom teacher for 9 years. I enjoyed teaching in grades 3, 4, & 5 during these 9 years, before becoming a high school assistant principal. I served in this role for 7 years before relocating to Gwinnett County. In Gwinnett County, I have served as an assistant principal at Hopkins Elementary for the last 6 years.

As the new Principal of Graves Elementary School, I am honored to join a school culture that emphasizes teaching and learning while integrating the fine arts. I am truly honored to be given this opportunity and look forward to immersing myself completely in our school and community. I believe my main responsibility is to support our teachers to put them in the best possible position to succeed, and they will in turn put our children in the best possible position to succeed.

Establishing a strong relationship with parents is extremely important to me as the new principal here. I plan to make myself available to my students, staff, parents, and all stakeholders ensuring that they feel relevant in our school environment, and they have access to their principal. I look forward to meeting all of you and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or ideas you would like to share. We are in the process of planning a meet and greet to give all of our parents and other stakeholders the opportunity to meet with me to start this exciting journey as partners.

Again, Graves Elementary is a wonderful school, and I am excited to be here as the new leader. In my short time roaming the building this summer, I have come to learn that we have awesome students, dedicated staff, and highly motivated parents and community members working to benefit our students. I am excited to work with such a dynamic team of educators to make this year the BEST ever at Graves Elementary.

Sincerely, Kono D. Smith, Ed.S.

Principal

Assistant Principal

Dr. Tonisha Chapman

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Dr. Tonisha Chapman

Dr. Tonisha L Chapman has served as an assistant principal at Graves Elementary since it's opening in the fall of 2015. Prior to coming to Graves, Dr. Chapman was an assistant principal at Nesbit Elementary for the 2014 school year, and an administrative intern there in 2013. Before her administrative role at Nesbit, Dr. Chapman was a Special Education teacher at Alford Elementary School for 10 years, where she taught all grades, moving up with her students each year.

Dr. Chapman's educational experience includes Reading Endorsement from Georgia State University, Ed.D. in Instructional leadership from Argosy University, MAT in Special Education from Brenau University, MA in Curriculum Instruction from Central Michigan University, and Bachelor of Arts in English/Elementary Ed. from Johnson C Smith University. As an Assistant Principal, Dr. Chapman strives to support teachers in their efforts to bridge achievement gaps with all children and to help lead them in making appropriate educational decisions for all of their students. Dr. Chapman believes all children possess the potential to experience academic success if they are provided with the same instructional opportunities as others and are stretched to their fullest potential. 

Assistant Principal

Ms. LaRonda Henderson

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Ms. LaRonda Henderson

LaRonda Henderson is honored to serve as an assistant principal at Graves Elementary School for the past four years. She is a charter member and had the pleasure of opening Graves in the Norcross community in 2015. Ms. Henderson was an assistant principal at Nesbit Elementary for three years before opening Graves Elementary School. Ms. Henderson also taught first grade at Nesbit Elementary School prior to becoming an administrator. Ms. Henderson worked with children as a substitute teacher and a classroom teacher in grades K, 1, and 2 for sixteen years. She also worked with teachers and staff as a Local School Technology Coordinator for three years. Ms. Henderson has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Miles College. She has a master’s degree in School Counseling and Educational Leadership from Alabama State University. She also completed an education specialist degree from University of West Georgia. Ms. Henderson strives to maintain a positive school setting. She enjoys learning new things that support her leadership journey and allows her to apply her studies and experiences. Ms. Henderson believes with all her heart that it is essential to be able to contribute to learners and instill in others the desire to become lifelong learners. She believes that everyone has value and deserves second chances. Ms. Henderson truly enjoys serving our students, working with colleagues, and making a difference in the lives of our families here at Graves Elementary School, the Meadowcreek Cluster, and Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Assistant Principal

Mr. Jerry Jackson

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Mr. Jerry Jackson

Mr. Jerry Jackson Jr. currently serves in the capacity of Assistant Principal at Graves Elementary School in the Gwinnett County Public Schools system since August, 2016. He embarked on his teaching career as an Exceptional Student Education teacher in Daytona Beach Florida. Mr. Jackson while employed to the Volusia County Schools for 11 years, undertook the responsibilities of being a teacher, coach, mentor, and an administrator.  He attained an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration and Technology from Nova Southeastern University, and a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix. He also pursued an undergraduate Degree in Varying Exceptionalities/Specific Learning Disabilities from the Great Bethune-Cookman University.  Mr. Jackson really enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball and bowling in his free time.

Assistant Principl

Mr. Jason Burke

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Mr. Jason Burke

 

Mr. Jason Burke is the newest member of the Graves administrative team, enthusiastically joining the staff in January of 2019.  In his 11th year of service with Gwinnett County Public Schools, Mr. Burke previously taught at Jenkins Elementary where he served as a Gifted and Special Education teacher for 4 years.  Mr. Burke also has 5 years of experience teaching 5th grade at both Jenkins and Simonton Elementary.  Before coming to Gwinnett, Mr. Burke was a 4th grade teacher in the Cumberland County School Distrct, in North Carolina.  

Mr. Burke holds a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia (Go dawgs!), and a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Language Arts and Social Studies, from Eastern Michigan University.  Mr. Burke looks forward to building relationships with faculty, students, and families within the Graves community!