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Michelle Simmons

Douglas County School Board
District #4
 Partnership - Transparency - Accountability


It's All About The Children


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Jul 9, 2018

Douglas School Board Member Learning about African Education at Source

Douglas County School Board’s vice chairman is learning how education is done in Africa this summer.

Michelle Simmons currently is participating in a five-week program in Ghana, she said.

The Fulbright-Hayes Group Projects Abroad funds the curriculum and development project for American educators. Simmons is a special education teacher in DeKalb County.

The goal of the program is to develop an understanding of educational practices abroad and to develop social and professional relationships with people in the global community, she said.

“My life’s journey has brought me back to my beginning,” Simmons said. “To have the opportunity to visit my homeland brings me to tears.

“I look forward to walking where my ancestors walked and learning more about a rich culture that I am proud to say is a part of who I am,” she said. “I am excited and humbled to have been selected to experience Ghana with fellow educators and to share my experiences with others upon my return.”

She said her reference to her “homeland" is ancestral after she recently learned from that a percentage of her ancestry makeup is from Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Simmons will study at the University of Ghana in Accra with a 15-member team. Topics include the origin and history of the Akan Twi language, the geography of the area, and the role of politics and media. She will learn about the structure and funding of the Ghanaian education system; assessments used to advance and promote students; comparing public and private education; and the role of technology in the classroom.

Simmons will brainstorm with curriculum specialists about creating teaching models based on information gathered in the Ghanaian Lecture-Series and cultural/ site visits, emphasizing the issues of stereotype and misguided information in teaching and learning about Africa in the classroom.

“My itinerary lists a lecture on ‘The role of Akan Twi-Fante Language and Culture in West Africa and Ghana in particular,’” she said. “This lecture is stated to examine how the Akan Twi have played important roles in the political, economic and social values in Ghana.

“It will also inform us on how all movements of national focus have used Akan as an instrument to achieve ‘tribal unity and integration.’

May 1, 2018

DeKalb Teacher Completes Education Policy Fellowship Program


Michelle Simmons, a fifth-grade special education teacher at Peachcrest Elementary School, was one of 21 graduates of the ninth Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) class.

EPFP is conducted by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. It is billed as a “professional development program that provides potential leaders with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy… ultimately EPFP seeks to improve the chances of children and youth to succeed.”


mmons also serves on the Board of Education in Douglas County, where she resides. She said the program was beneficial.

“The program broadened my perspective, affording me the opportunity to become more heavily engrossed in various aspects that encompass education,” Simmons said, adding, “My depth of knowledge and insight has been broadened because of the many opportunities provided through this Fellowship.”

The program is composed of monthly colloquiums and attendance at a national leadership conference in Washington D.C. Speakers include leaders in a wide variety of subjects including funding, global and higher education, school choice, early education, politics, the demographic landscape and more.

Simmons said she would recommend the program to others.

“Yes! The Fellows have a unique opportunity to engage and network with people from various backgrounds regarding education,” she explained. “If open, perspectives will be challenged and understandings may be shifted as Fellows are exposed to topics and participate in discussions that provide more depth and insight than they may have had prior to the fellowship.”

​December 21, 2016

DCSS Board of Education Receives Honor


The Douglas County Board of Education was named a 2016 Distinguished Board by the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) at their annual conference on December 2, 2016. The recognition program is designed to showcase best practices in school governance and leadership among Georgia School Boards. GSBA recognizes good school board governance to foster educational community cultures to advance student learning and achievement.

“Our Board of Education worked in accord to earn the 2016 Distinguished Board designation,” said Douglas County Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz. “We are one of only 30 out of 181 districts in the state to earn the accolade this year.”

According to Board Chair D.T. Jackson, “All members of our board worked together to earn this status that is designed to showcase best practices in school governance and leadership. We consistently work to make sure that, among other requirements, our district complies with: standards of accreditation, board members exceeding state training requirements, incorporating Strategic Plan Goals in the superintendent’s evaluation, and other components of the recognition criteria.” Click here for more information about the award criteria.

“At the same GSBA meeting, Dr. Pritz was honored by GSBA and the Georgia School Superintendent’s Association for being named one of four finalists for Georgia Superintendent of the Year,” Mr. Jackson continued. “Dr. Pritz has served our system well for seven years and this is a significant honor recognizing the work he has done in our school district as well as across the state.”

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