Lori Anne Lee

Atkinson Elementary School
Brantley County School District
Waynesville, Georgia

Lori Anne Lee has served as principal of Atkinson Elementary School for the last 10 years, having previously served as assistant principal for four years in neighboring schools. Over the course of her tenure, this rural, high-poverty, formerly underperforming school has seen sustained academic and cultural growth, becoming a top school in the county and state. Previously identified as a Needs Improvement School with a CCRPI rating of 74 percent, Atkinson has been recognized annually since 2016 as a Title I Reward School for high academic progress and a Five Star School for positive school climate. In 2017, the school’s CCRPI rating had increased to an impressive 90 percent. Lee credits this growth to a schoolwide commitment to serving the needs of the whole child, evident in the multifaceted approach taken to assess student learning and in initiatives like the Backpacks of Blessings program, which provides healthy meals to students in need, and the Maker Space, which creates opportunities to develop 21st century skills like critical thinking and problem solving. Lee is the recipient of the 2019 Jerry Davis Georgia Distinguished Principal Award and builds on an 11-year career as a Special Education teacher. She holds a Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Argosy University, an Educational Specialist credential in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota, and an M.Ed. in Interrelated Special Education and a B.S. in Education from Georgia Southern University.