About Us

Georgia’s first STEAM-certified school and first traditional PreK – 5th grade STEM-certified school.

Who is Henderson Mill Elementary School?
Henderson Mill Elementary School (HMES) is a multi-racial, multicultural public elementary school located in Atlanta, Georgia. In the HMES student body of just under 500 students, we represent 55 countries and speak 13 languages. 80% of our student population are youth of color. Over 60% of our students are categorized as economically disadvantaged and eligible for free and reduced lunch. 47% of our students speak a second language at home. 29% receive ESOL instruction. 11% of our students are identified as students with disabilities. HMES also serves all of the oral hearing imparied students for the system. 
What is the Mission and Vision of Henderson Mill?

The mission of Henderson Mill Elementary is to educate each child through meaningful experiences which enhance their creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and citizenship.  

Our vision is that Henderson Mill Elementary will become a world-class, diverse STEAM school of globally-minded, creative, and highly motivated students. Partnerships among students, teachers, families, and the community will contribute to meaningful experiences, inspiring our students to dream big and reach their full potential.  

What is STEM / STEAM?
STEM is an acronym for four different fields of study: science, technology, engineering, and math. STEAM is the same acronym with arts included. The purpose of a STEAM program is to build students’ capacity in each of these areas.
What is STEM/STEAM Certification? Why is it Important?
A STEM / STEAM Certification ensures our students are receiving the best possible STEM / STEAM education. It is a mark of distinction and excellence given to schools who follow a certified STEM / STEAM curriculum and adhere to the highest of academic standards.

A STEM / STEAM Certification ensures our students are at the forefront of new ideas. The STEM / STEAM curriculum is continually updated to reflect the ever-evolving fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. As the science evolves, the curriculum evolves, and our students evolve.

Every few years, HMES undergoes a rigorous re-certification process.

How Did HMES’ STEAM Program Begin? What was our STEAM journey?
Coming soon!
Who Leads HMES’ STEAM Program?

The STEAM program is guided by a school committee, led by three co-chairs who are all seasoned educators. The program is supported by the HMES Administration, the HMES Foundation, and HMES parent volunteers.


What is the Henderson Mill Foundation? And What is its Mission?
The Henderson Mill Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization committed to providing long-term financial support to fund education programs and projects for HMES. Our mission is to build on HMES’ education excellence by raising capital funds that will help bridge the gap between the cost of a well-rounded, quality education and inadequate state and federal funding. The Foundation is composed of parents, teachers, and administrators.
How Does the Foundation Raise Money?

The foundation raises funds from a variety of sources including grants and community fundraising efforts. March Mania, the annual Foundation fundraiser, is the primary source of funds for HMES’ STEAM program.

What is the Difference Between PTA and the Foundation?
The Henderson Mill Foundation is the fundraising arm of the elementary school. We provide funding for educational programs, teacher support, and school improvements that are over and above what can be funded by the federal, state, and county budgets. The Foundation also serves as an advocate in the community and builds bridges between the school and the public.

The HMES PTA provides programs and volunteers for our school that promote the community among students, parents, and staff. The HMES Foundation works closely with our PTA.



Officials to get glimpse at state’s first STEAM-certified school program in DeKalb County

DeKalb school becomes first to receive STEAM certification in state of Georgia

Henderson Mill In DeKalb Receives New School Art Award

Making the Grade: State’s first STEAM-certified school energizes kids

Henderson Mill ES Awarded First-in-Georgia STEAM Certification

Fox5STEM Day 5 5 17

11Alive STEM Day 5 5 17

Henderson Mill Foundation Partners

$1000+ Donors

Henderson’s STEAM Program Partners

HMES STEAM Committee

Chair: Diane Maslia (4th Grade Rep) | Chair: Ashley Schoenecker (4th Grade Rep) | Chair: Mia Anthony (Science Teacher) | Hannah Frazier (Kindergarten Rep) | Evetta Reed (1st Grade Rep) | Kaleya Bamford (2nd Grade Rep) | Michelle Williams (3rd Grade Rep)  | Hope Perry (5th Grade Rep) | Suzi Howard (Art Teacher) | James O’Donnell (P.E. Teacher) | Michael Conner (P.E. Teacher) | Elisabeth McDowell (Media Specialist) | Gary Fisher (Music Teacher) | Julie Fordham (Arts Support/Paraprofessional) | 

HMES Foundation Board of Directors

President: Abby Mowinski | Communications: April Callahan | Treasurer: Maritza McClendon | Secretary: Kristen Bryant | Grants: Roxanne Brown | March Mania Co-Chairs: Lauren Lynch, April Callahan, Robin Doherty | School Garden and STEAM Support: Margaret Evans, Peter Jackson

Our Founder

Judy’s “quiet persistence, unending dedication, and visionary creativity led us to become the first STEAM-certified school in the State of Georgia”

– Mitchell Green, former principal

For 30 years, Judy Atvur devoted her life to Henderson Mill Elementary School. Her work helped make Henderson Mill the premier STE(A)M school in the region.

Judy began her time with HMES in 1988. As a parent volunteer, she led the community in a complete revamp of the HMES school building. Together, they turned the school’s once gloomy, gray hallways into a colorful, playful setting full of Judy’s murals. In appreciation of her work, the school created a “Judy Atvur Day” in 1990.

By Fall of 1990, Judy transitioned to a permanent position as a paraprofessional. Among her many talents and contributions, she was best known for going above and beyond to transform every simple HMES event into an artistic extravaganza and giving her free time before and after school to mentor children who needed additional academic guidance and encouragement. 

In 2010, Judy led a team in a revamp of the HMES curriculum. The goal was to transform the school’s traditional learning curriculum into one that emphasized hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering, and math. In 2012, after countless hours of designing projects, securing funding, and garnering support, Judy led HMES to become the first traditional Pre-K through 5th grade STEM-certified school in the state of Georgia.

In an effort to further Henderson’s STEM program, Judy and her team worked for a second certification; in 2017, HMES became the first STEAM-certified school in the state of Georgia. In appreciation of her work, the county recognized Judy as “Support Person of the Year” in 2017.


In September 2018, Judy Atvur was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer. Throughout her treatment, she continued to work; her dedication to and her love of the HMES children never wavered. Judy was intent on securing one last certification for the school (the AdvancED certification, now known as Cognia) to earn HMES the “triple crown” of STEM/STEAM achievements. In 2019, she and her team reached this third certification.

In late 2019, after recovering from a complicated surgery, Judy achieved her final goal of returning to work post-cancer. In April 2020, as schools were closing their doors amid the pandemic, Judy passed away.

Judy was an Atlanta native, a painter, photographer, graphic designer, sketch artist and digital artist. She was classically trained at Georgia State University. After college, Judy designed for companies including Rich’s, Georgia Power, Georgia State University, and Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

At Henderson Mill, and at schools all over DeKalb County, Judy’s colorful murals still lift the spirits of students, staff and visitors as they walk through the hallways.

This program and website are dedicated in her honor.

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Help the Foundation’s goal of raising $50,000.