October 19, 2017 | 2017 Winners' Circle Leadership Team
From Left to Right: Dwight Ho-Sang, Kara Cowdrick, Jennifer Dunn, Kelly Petrello
Thank you to all our nominating organizations and individuals. This year, we are proud to say that we received a total of 347 Nominations for the 2018 Atlanta Families' Awards.

Out of 347 nominees, 125 completed and submitted their application

62 applicants have since advanced to the 2nd Round and are now busy working on their Essays & Project Proposals.

Semi Finalists for the 2018 Awards will be announced in early January!

Kori Sanchez Smith
Executive Director

Justin Bradshaw
Dev. Coordinator


The AFAEE Board

Shelby Senzer 
Board Chair
Dr. Rubye Sullivan
Vice Chair
Ted Griffith
Katie McDowell

Edward Michaels
Will duPont
Molly Eskew
Simms Jenkins
Prescott Miller
Ryan Shepard
Megan Watson



Jennifer Dunn
'15 Principal Winner

Kelly Petrello
'13 Teacher Winner
Vice President

Dwight Ho-Sang
'13 Principal Winner

Kara Cowdrick
'15 Teacher Winner


Donate with Amazon Smile Today. For each eligible purchase you make, Amazon donates .5% of the price to the Alanta Families'. Click here for more information. 




Earlier this month a quote came across my social media feed.  Within a colorful blue block in swirly font it stated: Dear Self, Be grateful.  Instead of my automatic response to hit “like” and move on, I stopped and asked myself, “Do I practice gratitude?“ And when my pause stretched out into pure silence I realized the answer was, “Not enough”.

In our September newsletter I was able to share my deep appreciation for the great opportunity I have been given to join the AFAEE team. I have so much to be grateful for in this role, something that has become clearer each and every day.  Back in October I had the pleasure of meeting the Winners’ Circle leadership team (pictured above).  For those unfamiliar, the Winners’ Circle (made up of all past AFAEE winners) elects officers each year to plan and implement their collaborative events.  By Iistening to their experiences I was able to better understand the impact of the AFAEE award, and the power of the annual Winner’s Circle summit. During the summit, teachers and leaders lead and participate in professional development sessions allowing everyone to share best practices as they continue to grow and learn together. 

It has been fun getting to know the dynamic educators of the Winners’ Circle.  Justin and I were thrilled to visit Henderson Mill Elementary in DeKalb County, the first STEM certified school in the state of Georgia. During a STEM showcase, Principal Mitchell Green (pictured above), a 2017 AFAEE winner, opened the school’s doors to visitors from across the city (and even a visitor from out of state) eager to learn about the great work they are doing.  Being able to support the great teaching and learning and leading at Henderson Mill is something for which I am truly greatful.
AFAEE is proud to partner with five Atlanta-Metro districts, including Cobb County where I visited 2017 winner Chinita Allen at Chalker Elementary (pictured below).  Her fourth grade class, deep in the middle of project based learning, was the perfect mixture of organized chaos, collaboration and rigorous instruction.  In Atlanta Public Schools I saw 2017 winner Jennifer Button of Drew Charter School lead the cutest class of kindergarteners EVER through a lesson that reinforced computer coding and letter recognition. Seeing her AFAEE funded project take shape was a source of immense pride.
This list goes on and on.  It has been an honor to visit superstar teachers across this city who are continuing to make an impact with teachers and students. I now realize that becoming more grateful, for me, is about taking the time to stop and reflect on all of the wonderful things happening around me.  Thank you to the Winners’ Circle for continuing to expand your impact and improve the lives of students.  Thank you to the generous community partners, families and individuals that donate to AFAEE so we can continue to support these awesome educators.  Thank you to everyone who does his or her small part to make this big world a better place.
I’m going to keep working on being grateful. Lucky for me, November feels like the perfect time to start.
Kori Sanchez Smith    
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