Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!

I apologize that this is the first blog post for the 2016-2017 school year.  As some of you may be aware, my wife and I were expecting the birth of our second child in September.  In an effort to follow in his big brother’s footsteps, Maxwell Robert McKnight was born seven weeks early on July 20th.  He weighed three pounds and six ounces and came out kicking and screaming.  He is still in the hospital but should be released in the next few weeks.  As a result, I have missed several days of school and have fallen a bit behind.  However, I look forward to getting back into a rhythm and sending these updates out each week.

This is a big year for the Senior Academy, with our first graduating class, and I am very excited about our work over the summer and the addition of some great new members to our team.  This completion of our Cradle-to-College Pipeline is not only the culmination of more than 13 years of work for our students, but also three years of work by the Senior Academy team and more than 17 years of work since the founding of Drew in 2000.  This marks an important milestone in the lives of our students and the vision for Drew Charter School.  I am tremendously excited about the achievements of our students, particularly the Legacy Class, and I am excited to see what students accomplish this year, particularly as they begin applying to scholarships and colleges.


  • To all of the new staff members who have joined us:
    • Tasha Allen – 11th Grade Math
    • Office Phillip Bridwell – School Resource Officer
    • Teresa Crooks – Receptionist
    • Kimberly Foster – 12th Grade ELA and Early College Support
    • Angelica Hairston – JA/SA Harp
    • Lauren Hayes – JA/SA Harp
    • Christina Hood – 12th Grade Science
    • Teresa Jackson – 12th Grade Math
    • Juliet Karanja-Pinder – RtI/SST Chairperson
    • Tiffany Keys – 10th Grade Math
    • Jessica Krachman – 9th Grade Math
    • Barbara Manwell – 12th Grade Social Studies
    • Jeffery Martín – JA/SA Coding
    • Katherine Might-Zdradzinski – JA/SA Spanish
    • Winsome Morgan – 10/12th Grade Special Education
    • Kendrick Myers – SA Dean of Students
    • Nina Pryor – JA/SA Band Director
    • Robert Richardson – 9/11th Grade Counselor
    • Leslie Schaffer – 9th Grade Social Studies
    • Michael Standard – JA/SA Music Technology
    • Michelle Stinson – Early College Support Liaison
    • Alexandra Thomas – College Advising Corps Member
    • Eric Washington – Technology Specialist
    • Everette White – 9th Grade Special Education
    • Office Jada Williams – School Resource Officer
  • To several staff who have moved positions from last year:
    • Tyler Coley – 6-8th Grade Engineering à 6-9th Grade Engineering
    • Emily Desprez – 10th Grade Math à Math Intervention Teacher
    • Jeff Kitchen – 6th Grade Science à 6-9th Grade Business and Technology
    • Kevin Parker – CREW Teens Student Support Liaison à Photography
  • To Mr. McCullough and Ms. Allen for their continued work with Organic World Language (OWL).  We are now hosting teachers from across the country to observe this practice!
  • To Ms. Akinyela for helping organize the daily announcements during Flex Time
  • To Ms. Jackson and the 12th grade team for their continued work planning senior activities
  • To Ms. Davis, Mr. Richardson, Ms. Kaney and Ms. Mills for all of their work balancing classes and finalizing schedules
  • To Mr. Myers, Ms. Kaney and Mrs. Ali-Ferguson for planning our Third Annual Midnight Madness event


  • Monday, August 8th
    • A-Day
    • Flex Time – SGA Town Hall
    • 5:30-6:30 pm – Posse Nominee Information Night [Student nominees and their parents]
  • Tuesday, August 9th
    • B-Day
    • Flex Time – Extended Learning
    • 5:30 pm – JV Volleyball vs. Decatur [Home]
    • 6:00 pm – Board of Directors Meeting [Eva Davis Board Room]
  • Wednesday, August 10th
    • A-Day
    • Flex Time – Advisory:
      • SGA Campaign Videos and Election
      • Club Selection
    • 5:30 – Softball vs. McNair [Away]
  • Thursday, August 11th
    • B-Day
    • Flex Time – Extended Learning
    • 5:30 – Softball vs. Creekside [Southside Sports Complex]
    • 6:30 – Volleyball vs. Maynard Jackson and Alpharetta [Maynard Jackson]
  • Friday, August 12th
    • Students with passes can wear jeans.
    • A-Day
    • Flex Time – Free Friday (logistics TBD)

Upcoming Events  

  • Wednesday, August 17th, 5:30-7:30pm – Senior Parent Meeting [Cafeteria]
  • Thursday, August 18th, 10:00-2:00 – GSU: Clarkston Early College Student Orientation
  • Monday, August 22nd – GSU Early College classes begin
  • Friday, August 26th, 12:00-6:00 pm – Whole-Day Parent Conferences
  • Saturday, August 27th – 11/12th KIPP/Lovett/Westminster College Fair
  • Monday, September 5th – Labor Day [No School]
  • Wednesday, September 7th – Yearbook Pictures
  • Friday, September 9th – Mock ACT Administration [Juniors]
  • Thursday, October 13th, 4:00-6:00 pm – Quarter 1 PBL Showcase


  1. Echo – New Tech Network, our technical assistance provider for Project-Based Learning (PBL) has discontinued support of the Echo learning management system.  As a result, we are switching to BlackBoard, a very popular and robust system used by many colleges.  As soon as student accounts are set up, we will reach out to families to provide information on how to use the system.
  2. Senior Parent Meeting – Senior Parents, please be sure to plan to attend our Senior Parent Night next Wednesday at 5:30 in the Cafeteria.  This meeting will provide information about senior year academic requirements, college resources and senior activities, including dues.
  3. Yearbook Pictures – Yearbook pictures are scheduled for Wednesday, September 7th. Students must have their blazer in order to take a yearbook picture.
  4. Junior Dues – Below are links to the schedule to pay Junior Dues and an FAQ document.  Dues will remain $200 this year.  Please make every effort to pay these dues according to the schedule so that we have funds available to secure deposits and purchased materials in advance in order to avoid extra fees.





5 thoughts on “Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!

  1. L. Rodgers

    Congratulations Mr. McKnight to you and your wife on the birth of your second child. Praying for his quick return home with his family.


  2. Jennifer M

    Praying for Baby McKnight and you have good staff are in place to back you up! The kids will have a great year and we are so excited about the Drew Class of 2017!


  3. Kevin Lynch

    Kudos to students and staff [particularly staff accepting new positions] for the first month of 2017-18 school year. Kudos to Drew Seniors for a great start as the first Senior class! And of course congratulations to the McKnight family – thank you for sharing Principal McKnight with our school community.


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