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Gwinnett County Public Schools

Jordan Middle School

Fast Facts


H. Rhodes Jordan, Sr.

Jordan (pronounced Jer-dan) Middle School, which opened in August 2015, is dedicated to the memory of H. Rhodes Jordan, Sr., a true son of Lawrenceville. H. Rhodes Jordan, Sr. holds an extraordinary place in the history of Lawrenceville. He was proud that, except for time at school and in the service during World War II, he lived only in Lawrenceville. He served off and on as mayor for eight terms, winning and losing elections, but returning again and again to serve the city he loved.

Hilliard Rhodes Jordan, Sr. was born to Albert Barton Jordan and Maude Lee Jordan on October 16, 1918, in their home on Stone Mountain Street. His first name came from an uncle, the second referenced a Dr. Rhodes who delivered him during the influenza pandemic of 1918. He was known to everyone as “Rhodes.”

Politics ran in the family. At one time, Rhodes’ grandfather, Will Jordan, was appointed to run the city’s paupers’ home. Will was a Lawrenceville councilman in 1922 and served eight years. Albert Jordan, Rhodes’ father, served on the city council for two terms beginning in 1939 and won another term in 1946.

Rhodes graduated from Lawrenceville High in 1936. His studies included a class in “Expression” with Virginia Ezzard, an exacting teacher in whose class he learned the art of public speaking. Despite talk of his becoming a minister, Rhodes chose military school. He attended Georgia Military Academy, and later Emory University. On the advice of his father, he entered Atlanta Law School, but his studies were cut short by World War II. Rhodes joined the United States Navy in January 1942, serving as a signalman in the South Pacific. At the time of his discharge in December 1945, he had achieved the rank of Petty Officer, Second Class.

Following military service, Rhodes returned to law school. Early in 1946 he met Willela Allison from Cleveland, Georgia, who was in Lawrenceville working as a wartime caseworker. They were married on August 30, 1946. Rhodes graduated from law school and took the bar oath on August 11, 1947. That year he won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives and served through 1948. A second term in the House followed in 1953–54.

Rhodes is best known for his eight terms as mayor of Lawrenceville. He was elected first in 1962 and re-elected in 1964 and 1966. Following losses to Bill Fortune in 1968 and 1970, Rhodes regained the mayor’s seat in 1974 and 1976, lost re-election in 1978, then was returned to office in 1980, 1982, and 1986. A local legend not only for his dedication to city politics, but also for his phenomenal memory, he could easily recall events decades past, noting people, places and events, time of day, and weather conditions.

Always active in the community, Rhodes was a member of the Lawrenceville Kiwanis Club and served as its president in 1950. He was the youngest deacon to serve at First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville and co-taught Sunday School classes with Walter Alford for more than 40 years. He was a senior member of the Gwinnett Bar Association, a member of the Lawrenceville Masonic Lodge 131, a life member of the American Foreign Legion Post 262, and served on the board of directors of Brand Banking Company. Dedication to community service won Rhodes the Public Service Award from the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce in 1988 and the Public Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services in 1989. In the early 1980s, Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville was named in his honor.

From 1948 until his death in 1993, Rhodes Jordan lived and raised his family in their home on Culver Street in Lawrenceville. Although a staunch Democrat, he would vote for Republicans if he had strong beliefs in an individual or his/her cause. He enjoyed the practice of law and considered himself a “people’s lawyer” who did not specialize in newsworthy cases but was content to handle legal matters and keep an open door for anyone who wanted to come in and talk.

Rhodes Jordan’s office, on the floor above what had been his father’s general store, looked out on the Courthouse Square. From that vantage point, he watched activities and developments in the city of Lawrenceville from 1930 until his death on March 25, 1993. Today the former store and law offices are restored as the Rhodes Jordan Building, and a plaque featuring the likeness of H. Rhodes Jordan, Sr. looks again upon the Courthouse Square.

The Jordan Middle School community celebrated the life of Mr. Jordan and the dedication of its new school on October 18, 2015. As a member of the Central Gwinnett Cluster, the school adopted black and gold as its colors and the Black Knight as its mascot. The school takes its motto “Leading a Community of Excellence” to heart as it seeks to develop students academically and socially, preparing them to take their place as tomorrow’s leaders and successful citizens in the 21st century.

A few of the success stories from this school’s brief history include:

  • JMS was selected in 2019 as one of 20 Georgia schools to receive $25,000 to fund implementation of computer coding curriculum, computer science-related professional development and training, equipment purchases, and the establishment of computer science certification pathways.
  • The Knightly Robotics Team won the Breakout Award and Core Values Winner at the First Lego League Challenge
  • More than 30 students received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and more than 70 students received the President’s Award for Educational Achievement since 2016
  • Six teachers have received the Jackson EMC Bright Ideas Grant valued over $6,000 since 2015
  • Georgia Power awarded our 6th grade language arts teacher, Alissa Leugers Haney, the New Teacher Assistance grant for $1,000 to support the purchase of technology in the classroom.
  • Our Girls on the Run program has sponsored over 100 students for training and participation in two 5K runs per year
  • Jordan students participate and are recognized at the Gwinnett County Regional Science, Engineering, and Innovation Fair with more than 30 students receiving honors since 2015
  • Jordan students used the district’s eCLASS digital resources extensively, exceeding the county average for student usage since 2015
  • Jordan Middle has had over 25 participants in the Gwinnett Student Media Festival advanced to the State Media Festival and receive recognition since 2015
  • A JMS STEM teacher received the Captain Planet Gardening Grant
  • Central Gwinnett Foundation has awarded grants for classroom teachers to support literacy, mathematics, and English Language Learners with more than $5,000 going directly to the classrooms since 2015
  • Each year, students have competed in the Nordson Tech Time essay contest, writing about STEM-related topics that aligned to the science AKS with one student being selected as a grade level winner and awarded a technology package that includes an iPad
  • JMS Honor Chorus students performed at the Georgia Music Educators Association District 13 Honors Chorus at the University of Georgia’s Classic Center in Athens;
  • Jordan hosted the Middle and High School Math Institute for teachers and students;
  • STRIVE students have the opportunity to acquire work experience in the JMS café;
  • JMS' Cafeteria is a Georgia Grown Test Kitchen, promoting local and healthy eating in schools across the state by supplying school nutrition directors with healthy recipes using Georgia Grown commodities.