Bland replaced Kara Stimpson, who is the new principal at Jean Childs Young Middle School. Boatright replaced Michael Forehand, Ed.D, and Lawrence took over for Laura Strickland, who both resigned in good standing.
Bland joins Brandon after spending three years as the assistant principal at Morningside Elementary. Under his leadership, Morningside won the Atlanta Public Schools’ Attendance Award for having the highest attendance rate in the district for three consecutive years.
Morningside was also recognized as a Governor’s Office of Student Achievement Platinum Achieving School award winner each year Bland was there. In addition, he helped Morningside win both the Blue Ribbon and Green Ribbon school designations in the same year.
Prior to stepping into an administrative position, Bland taught physical education for 10 years at Price and Sutton middle schools and coached varsity boys’ soccer for seven years at North Atlanta High, which he led to the 2011 and 2013 state playoffs.
“I’m most looking forward to meeting new faces and building relationships with community members, parents, teachers and, most importantly, the students,” he said of his new assignment. “Brandon is an amazing community, and I hope to be an integral part of it for years to come. I look forward to building the whole child, not just academically but also integrated with social emotional learning and the International Baccalaureate learning profile attributes.”
At Smith, Boatright stepped into the new position after serving as dean of academics for grades three through six at Westside Atlanta Charter School, where she led efforts to close achievement gaps and ensure equity for all students.
Before going to Westside, she spent three years at Inman Middle School as assistant principal and interim principal. Under her leadership, Inman increased its College- and Career-Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores by six points in 2015.
Prior to her administrative work, Boatright began her career as a high school world history teacher in North Carolina. Since then she has dedicated more than 15 years of service to Georgia public schools, with 12 of those years with the Atlanta district.
In 2013 under Boatright’s leadership as an instructional coach, Atlanta’s Coan Middle School increased its CCRPI scores by 20 points and led the district in standardized test scores for traditional middle schools.
“I am excited to be part of the strong tradition of excellence at Sarah Smith Elementary School and the North Atlanta Cluster,” she said of her new position. “As a North Atlanta cluster parent, I knew a good deal about Smith and its community, and it was a pleasure to really take a deep dive into the school and community this summer.”
She said her first question to everyone she meets is centered on their thoughts about the strength of the school. The overwhelming response is the school’s students, teachers, parents and community members said, “This is a great place to begin our work together,” Boatright said.
At Bolton, Lawrence joins the staff after successfully developing practices for and monitoring the implementation of world language programs across metro Atlanta.
She most recently served as the primary years program principal at Wesley International Academy, an Atlanta district charter school where students receive daily lessons in Mandarin.
As an educational consultant, she developed interdisciplinary Spanish curricular tools while facilitating the opening of the GLOBE Academy, a dual-language charter school in DeKalb County.
From 2008 to 2013, Lawrence coordinated world language and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) instruction for the entire Atlanta district, moving the district into compliance with the 2009 Title III federal audit status. During her five-year tenure at Mays High School, she taught Spanish, chaired the foreign language department and served as academy leader.
“In joining a school with a dedicated staff, supportive families, and students who are eager to learn, I’m most excited about the opportunity to help focus that energy to impact continual growth,” she said of her new assignment. “With an International Baccalaureate curriculum model, dual-language program and a significant ESOL population, Bolton Academy is the perfect culmination of my past experiences.”
Lawrence said she was honored at the opportunity to lead the school on this journey to success, “and I am also excited as a parent of a rising second-grader as well as a rising fourth-grader to have found a new school home for my own children.”