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Gwinnett teacher honored for work with students

November 10, 2022

     A Gwinnett County Public Schools teacher has received a state honor for his work in the classroom. Dr. James Leak, an 8th andDr. James Leak 9th grade Language Arts teacher at GIVE Center West, has been named the 2022-23 Georgia Alternative Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Association of Alternative Education. The distinction is awarded to a teacher who is an exceptional, dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher; inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; and plays an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school.

     Dr. Leak is grateful for the award. “Winning this award is an acknowledgement of the great work that alternative educators do for our students daily,” Dr. Leak shares. “We show up to support them academically, socially, and emotionally at a time when they may feel at the lowest point of their lives.”

     Dr. Leak has worked at GIVE Center West for five years and currently leads the school’s 8th and 9th grade Language Arts team. Dr. Donna Bishop, the Principal at GIVE Center West, says Dr. Leak connects with students in a way that elicits positive results. “Dr. Leak is well deserving of this award,” Dr. Bishop says. “Every day, he incorporates empathy into his classroom by building academic relationships that help students grow and learn in all areas of their lives. He has high expectations for his students, who thrive in his supportive, caring classroom.”

     Dr. Leak credits GIVE Center West’s supportive teaching environment for his success. “As much as the award honors me, it also honors GIVE Center West,” Dr. Leak said, adding, “At GIVE Center West, teachers are able to meet students where they are and teach them the academic, social, and personal skills they need to become our future leaders of tomorrow. This is a place where a caring, high-caliber team of administrators, faculty, and staff do the important work of investing in students to help them reach their full potential, regardless of their background. Each student is treated as a treasure waiting to be discovered.”

     Dr. Leak joins Karen Vaught (2019 honoree), and Alex Robson (2018 honoree), as recipients of the Georgia Alternative Teacher of the Year award.