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Gwinnett County Public Schools

Jenkins Elementary School

Fast Facts


photo of mayor of lawrenceville

Jenkins Elementary School is named for Bartow Jenkins, a long-time Gwinnett County Public Schools employee who also served the wider community as a Gwinnett County Commissioner, Lawrenceville City Councilman, and Mayor of Lawrenceville. He taught and coached athletics at Central Gwinnett HS for 20 years before moving into an administrative position at the school. When it was time to name the new elementary school opening in the Lawrenceville area that would be a part of the Central Gwinnett High School Cluster it was no surprise that the name Jenkins Elementary rose to the top.

Bartow Jenkins was born on February 19, 1927, in College Park, Georgia. He grew up in LaGrange, Georgia, where he attended LaGrange High School and played center on the varsity football team. Following high school graduation, Bartow joined the United States Navy and served during the final months of World War II. After receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy, Bartow attended Troy State College in Alabama, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Education. He also completed a master’s degree in Education and a specialist’s degree in Administration at The University of Georgia.

In 1954, Bartow came to Lawrenceville to take a teaching position and to serve as football coach at Lawrenceville High School. Soon after, the school’s name was changed to Central Gwinnett-Lawrenceville High School and Bartow continued there as coach through 1974. Although he retired as football coach that year, Bartow remained at Central Gwinnett High as an assistant principal for two more years. To many people, he never lost the title “Coach.”

In 1976, Bartow was appointed principal of a new Gwinnett school named Parkview High School. He later was promoted to Director of Athletics for Gwinnett County Public Schools, and was the district’s first Community Schools Director. While serving as athletic director, Bartow ran for the Lawrenceville City Council and was elected in 1982. In 1983, he was elected President of the Gwinnett Municipal Association. He ran successfully for the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in 1985 and served for two years. In 1988, Bartow was elected Mayor of the City of Lawrenceville, a post he held until retiring from office in 2002. He retired from Gwinnett County Public Schools in 1989 with 35 years of service.

Bartow was recognized in 1995 by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce when he received its “Public Service Award”. In 2009, the Gwinnett Chamber’s “Legacy Award” was presented to Bartow’s family in tribute to his lifetime of service to Gwinnett County.

Jenkins Elementary school officially opened its doors in August of 2010. Dr. Dot Schoeller, who previously had been the principal of Simonton Elementary transferred to the new school and began building the Jenkins Elementary School community of learners and leaders. The school held is official dedication ceremony on October 24, 2010. This ceremony included the entire Central Gwinnett Cluster and celebrated the opening of the new school and the man for whom it was named.

During her tenure as principal, Dr. Schoeller and the Jenkins team worked on engaging students in order to help them reach their full potential. One way the school did this was through its embracement of eCLASS, Gwinnett’s digital Content, Learning, Assessment and Support System.

Dr. Schoeller retired in 2015 and school system leaders tapped Dr. Michele Smith as Jenkins’ new prnicipal. Dr. Jenkins, who was principal of Suwanee Elementary School, was a familiar face to the Jenkins community as she had served as an administrative intern at the school when it first opened.

In collaboration with the Local School Council and community members, Jenkins Elementary hosts a number of activities that benefit students and families— “Back to School Blast,” Harvest Dances, Scholastic Book Fairs, Parent University nights, Holiday Shop, and Parent Engagement Luncheon. The school also enhances parental involvement through a variety of efforts, such as monthly Title I Learning evenings, musical and chorus performances, technology training for parents, and numerous volunteer opportunities within the classroom and around our school. As a result of the school’s efforts it sees high participation rates in events and parent-teacher conferences.

Jenkins Elementary also continues to look for ways to expand learning opportunities for students. Before-school programs provide enrichment, enhance creative learning experiences and extend GCPS’ Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Clubs included Witzzle Pro Club (math), Walk and Talk Club, Technology Club, STEM Club, Peer Leadership Club, Science Club, Running Club, Readers Rally Team, Yearbook Club, Chorus, Technology Club, PE Club, and Art Club. The school also offers advanced-content classes to students and its Early Morning Program supports a daily increase in instructional minutes for students.

As a school community, Jenkins Elementary focuses on creating paths and leading the way. It honors Bartow Jenkins’ memory, service, and accomplishments through the school’s pledge that is recited by students every morning at school: “I pledge to do my best each day, to be prepared in every way. To be respectful to everyone and never quit until my work is done. I will create the path and lead the way. I will make it a Jenkins Day!”

"Coach” Jenkins made a difference in the world every place he served. Mostly, he loved working with and serving students. Jenkins Elementary School takes pride in honoring Bartow Jenkins’ legacy, by not only educating the minds of its children but also by engaging their hearts.