Brandon principal wins $7,500 excellence award

The principal of a Buckhead elementary school was among 15 winners of Atlanta Families’ 2009 Awards for Excellence in Education in Atlanta Public Schools.

Karen Evans of Morris Brandon Elementary School was one of four principals to win the award and the $7,500 prize that comes with it. Eleven teachers also were named winners last month.

The fourth annual Awards for Excellence in Education will be handed out during a ceremony Feb. 26 at the Atlanta Speech School on Northside Parkway in Buckhead.

The awards recognize educators who can show quantitative evidence of student achievement gains, qualitative evidence of improved student self-esteem, and successful collaborations with other school and community leaders. Seventy-five educators applied for the awards.

MLK niece talks peace at Sutton

Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered a message of peace to Sutton Middle School students Jan. 16 as part of Atlanta Public Schools’ observance of King Day three days later.

“Be nonviolent, peaceful, have courage, and don’t be afraid,” said King, an author, activist and former member of the Georgia House. “We still have challenges today, such as poverty and war — the answer is the same today.”

She asked students to adopt the six principles of nonviolence:

• Nonviolence is not passive but requires courage.

• Nonviolence seeks reconciliation, not defeat of an adversary.

• Nonviolence is directed at eliminating evil, not destroying the evildoer.

• Nonviolence requires a willingness to accept suffering for the cause but never inflict it on others.

• Nonviolence requires a rejection of hatred, animosity and violence.

• Nonviolence requires faith that justice will prevail.

King said those principles kept her safe in many harrowing situations when she marched for change as a child. She added that the principles can be applied to students’ daily interactions.

“It was really touching that they risked their lives to change the world,” said sixth-grader Martee Looney, 11. He said King’s words inspired him to action. “I could stop all the pollution in my community.”

Shafron promoted to No. 2 at Davis

Davis Academy has promoted Amy Shafron from director of institutional advancement to associate head of school.

“The school, staff, parents and community are fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated executive to help lead Davis into the future,” said Sid Kirschner, Davis Academy’s head of school.

Shafron has been with the Reform Jewish day school in Sandy Springs for 4½ years. In addition to overseeing fundraising activities, she has assumed responsibilities in communications, marketing and community outreach. Most recently she coordinated the development and implementation of Davis’ partnership with The Weber School.

Before Davis, she worked as a tax and corporate lawyer and in various capacities for nonprofit Jewish organizations and private schools.

650 attend GHA honor dinner

Greenfield Hebrew Academy raised money and paid tribute to community volunteers and Sandy Springs residents Charlotte and Joel Marks on Jan. 25 with a dinner of honor attended by 650 people.

Charlotte, a 1969 academy alumna, and Joel Marks are the parents of three GHA alumni: Andrew, 1997; Steven, 2000; and Megan, 2005. The transdenominational Jewish school in Sandy Springs serves children through eighth grade.

Charlotte Marks’ volunteer work includes Congregation Or VeShalom in Brookhaven, the Atlanta Speech School in Buckhead, The Weber School in Sandy Springs, Hadassah, Yeshiva Atlanta, Temima High School for Girls and the Atlanta Scholars Kollel.

Joel Marks is a past president of the GHA board of trustees and serves on the Greenfield and Weber boards. He also is on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

Also at the dinner, the academy recognized Ron Heidt for his volunteer work at the school and Meta Miller as a staff professional.

Miller started as a teacher at the academy 26 years ago and has been the early childhood director since 1997. Heidt is a six-year member of the GHA board and has been technical director and video producer of the annual honor dinner and all school theatrical performances since 2000. This year’s dinner included a taste of “Willy Wonka the Musical,” which students will perform in March.