Georgia’s first STEAM-certified school and first traditional PreK – 5th grade STEM-certified school.
Who is Henderson Mill Elementary School?
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?
What is STEM/STEAM Certification? Why is it Important?
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?
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?
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 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.
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Henderson Mill Foundation Partners
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
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.