St. Martin’s Episcopal School has named a new head of school, Luis A. Ottley, Ed. D., to lead the pre-school through eighth grade school beginning July 1. Ottley will be the third head of school in the history of St. Martin’s. 

Ottley will join St. Martin’s from Mill Valley, Calif. where he is the head of school at Marin Horizon School, a pre-school through eighth grade day school.  Ottley has held that post since 2011 and prior to that he served as middle school principal at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Bronx, N.Y.  Ottley is a native of the Republic of Panama and brings more than 26 years of independent school experience in the U.S. to his new role.  Ottley will replace the Rev. Dr. James Hamner who has led St. Martin’s as its headmaster for 17 years. 

“We are excited for our entire school community to bring Luis to St. Martin’s as our new head of school,” said Richard Jaynes, chair of the board of trustees.  “His authentic style and ability to connect with people created an energy that electrified our campus. Our due-diligence confirmed his proven leadership skills and we are confident his success will continue at St. Martin’s.” 

Ottley, a lifelong Episcopalian, will be relocating to the Atlanta area in the spring and is pleased to be joining an Episcopal school.  “Having had the opportunity to visit the school and meet so many members of the community, I feel reassured in my initial assessment,” said Ottley.  “I am excited to be given the opportunity to join St. Martin’s and I look forward to my tenure at the school with much anticipation.” 

St. Martin’s Episcopal School was established in 1959 and offers education for more than 600 students in pre-school through eighth grade.  St. Martin’s is dedicated to providing a quality education of the whole person in a loving, Christian atmosphere, which fosters lifelong learning.

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Holy Innocents’ senior Clarisa Colton has been named a 2017 STAR Student by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. And Colton has selected Holy Innocents’ Middle School/Upper School Orchestra Director Elizabeth Lamback as her STAR Teacher—the teacher who has had the most influence on her academic achievement.

“I’m very honored to have received this award and could not have done it without the help and support of my teachers over the years at Holy Innocents’,” Colton said. “Mrs. Lamback has especially supported me and pushed me with music, which has helped me in other areas of school, as well.”

Colton, the daughter of Claudia and Russell Colton, is a member of the Science National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta math honor society, the Spanish National Honors Society and the Cum Laude Society, which recognizes academic achievement in students who are in the top 10 percent of their class. Colton also works with the Horizons summer academic enrichment program for low-income, public school children.

An accomplished cellist, Colton has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra for two years and was recently selected for Georgia’s All-State Orchestra, for the fourth year. She has also studied at Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and the highly selective Brevard Music Center Institute, one of America’s premier summer training programs for gifted musicians.

Lamback, who has been teaching Colton for almost seven years, said she has watched the 18-year-old grow, in academics and as a musician. “Clarisa has a tremendous work ethic and holds herself to a very high standard,” Lamback said. “I think she sets a beautiful example of a well-rounded student who realizes the importance of the arts to a balanced education.”

Lamback holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Furman University and a Master of Music Education degree, with a concentration in string pedagogy, from Florida State University.

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Chase McGrath has been named 2017 STAR Student at North Springs Charter High School. McGrath qualified as the senior with the highest SAT score (1550) taken at one sitting of any student in his class.

McGrath, 18, is the son of Kevin and Robin McGrath of Sandy Springs. He chose NSCHS for the dual magnet programs in math and science and visual and performing arts after attending eighth grade at Sandy Springs Middle School and the Epstein School earlier.

At graduation McGrath will have taken 13 Advanced Placement courses as a dual magnet student with a focus on vocal music, piano and drama. He has been selected to the very competitive All-State Choir for three consecutive years as well as the All-State Sight Reading Choir, the first Spartan to achieve this honor. Additionally he is a Governor’s Honors semifinalist, and a member of National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, math team, and in middle school, did two national tours for “The Sound of Music” and “The King and I”.

McGrath selected North Springs’ AP U.S. History teacher, Stephen Bengston, as his STAR teacher. He and Principal Scott Hanson, surprised Bengston in his classroom Wednesday morning to make the announcement. “I chose Mr. Bengston because he has been a great influence on how I think about things. He has been very influential, approachable, and supportive. He’s a really good teacher in general,” he said.

Bengston holds a an Master’s degree in History from Western Carolina University and BA in History from the University of West Florida where he was a four year baseball player (pitcher) and twice named academic all –conference. He served as North Springs’ varsity baseball head coach for eight years and is currently advisor to the philosophy club, Junto.

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Dunwoody business owner, Charlie Aguello, visited the Preschool at All Saints as part of the school’s Neighborhood Friends Visitor series. He shared all about running the E. 48th Street Deli, the art of making homemade pasta, recipes and taught the children a few words in Italian.

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Students at Dunwoody Elementary School are working hard and achieving success. DES’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team recently placed fifth out of 47 schools. Thanks to Ms. Gurin, Mrs. Carroll and Mrs. Mach for their leadership with this event, and congrats to the team.

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