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Norcross High School Foundation’s Annual Gala Set for April 21



The 22-year-old nonprofit continues its commitment to student excellence.

The Norcross High School Foundation was started in 2001 by a group of parents who really wanted to make a difference in the community. As one of the longest running foundations in the county, the original goal of the grassroots organization was to make sure children have a good place to be after school. The founders realized that it would take money to make that happen and went about raising funds to enhance the education experience.

Today, the foundation has taken that mission further by working with teachers, coaches, advisors and volunteers. Although it may be confused with a booster organization, it doesn’t focus on a single sport or extracurricular activities. And it’s not in competition with the Parent Teacher Student Association – it actually tries to work in concert with that organization for student success.

Norcross High School Gala

“Our mission, our vision, is that every student across high school will be prepared to excel in college, career and life. We ensure the success of students at Norcross High School by building community support and by raising funds to gain excellence in academics, arts and athletics,” said Tiffany Elner, co-president of the foundation.

“Not every student engages in athletics, not every student engages in art, so at a minimum by impacting academics, we are reaching every single student and that really was the goal was to take community resources from parents to bring in sponsorships and the business community,” she added.

With that mission in mind, the Norcross High School Foundation will host its annual gala on April 21 at Atlanta Tech Park.

The foundation wants its resources to impact all of the students, added Erin Griffin, also co-president of the foundation. With approximately 2700 students at the school, every dollar is needed.

The foundation raised $129,862 last school year, and since its inception has raised more than $2.6 million for Norcross High School (NHS). Close to half of that money – about $60,000 – was spent on classroom needs.

Every faculty member at NHS is asked to submit a list of things they need and want the foundation to raise money for.

“In the past, we had them on the wall like bricks, so they’ve just historically been called “wish bricks,” said Elner. “So basically, when someone purchases a brick at the gala, they’re funding this wish list item that whatever faculty member has submitted.”

There are items in every area of academics, arts and athletics. The requests also include counseling, fine arts and visual arts.

“With every single faculty member of the school involved, the giving touches every single classroom, every single activity, every sport that you can imagine,” Elner added. 

Foundation funds at work

Last year the funds went to directly support 160 faculty-led endeavors. One example is gains for the After School Matters (ASM) program where students receive extra help in academics. These students now have a newly dedicated lab space in the Gwinnett Online Campus Lab at NHS.

After returning to a 100% in person program, ASM served 86 students. Each one of the 14 seniors enrolled in ASM were on track to graduate in May or June (after attending summer school).

In March 2022, 41% of the ASM students were failing three or more classes, but by May, that number decreased to 27%. In March, 6% of students were passing all classes, which increased to 13% of students passing all classes by finals in May.

Foundation bricks also funded the purchase of graphic design software and hardware tools for NHS graphic design students to create logos and marketing campaigns for hypothetical and real-world assignments.

NHS graphic design students and their teacher met with foundation board members to create new social media logos using the tools purchased by gala bricks for the Foundation’s Giving Tuesday campaign. The students’ work is featured on the Foundation website and in Foundation social media posts.

Other wish bricks provided entry fees for students to participate in clubs and competitions in academic areas like math, Mock Trial and National Honor Society. Students in the arts program benefited from brick purchases for home improvement materials to build drama sets, sheet music and practice tracks for chorus students, as well as specialized materials for fine arts.

In athletics, bricks provided scholarships for students to participate in cross country and track, swimming and wrestling and provided training equipment for every sport at NHS.

This year, the foundation is looking to update the electronic sign in front of the school.

“The matrix sign in front of the school is very old …and we can’t really get messages out to the community,” said Elner. “You can only get two short lines of text on it. You can’t really convey a lot of information as people are driving by.”

In addition to the Wish Bricks, the gala will have auction items such as a beach vacation and golfing experience. There will be smaller ticket items as well.

NHS Foundation for Excellence Gala

Atlanta Tech Park, 107 Technology Pkwy., Peachtree Corners

Friday, April 21

Tickets: $125

  • Hall of Fall Induction Ceremony: 6:30 p.m.
  • Gala Reception: 7-10 p.m.
  • Live Auction: 8 p.m.

Hall of Fame

Another highlight of the Norcross High School Foundation gala is recognizing the contributions from individuals at the school and in the community towards student success.

“We are grateful for these people because our high school is a family in itself,” said Tiffany Elner. “Even after their children graduate, we have people who still come to games and give back to the school in so many ways.”

Many would say that you don’t see that type of dedication every day. “Norcross High School is such a special place that I think you do find people like that every day,” said Elner.

Carrie and Jed DeLong

Carrie & Jed DeLong
Carrie and Jed DeLong

Atlanta natives Jed and Carrie DeLong have lived in Peachtree Corners for 22 years. They consider themselves proud graduates of local public schools and their youngest daughter, Remi, graduated from Norcross High School (NHS) in 2021.

The DeLongs feel strongly about supporting educators and investing in future generations. They began serving at Cornerstone Christian Academy in 2008 and served on the capital campaign committee and the parent teacher fellowship executive board.

They joined the board of NHS Foundation for Excellence in 2017 where Jed served on the investment committee and Carrie served as co-president. The couple have supported many facets of Norcross High life including cheerleading, football, baseball, soccer and are especially proud of the creation of the sensory room for the special education department.

In addition to supporting NHS, Jed has volunteered with the City of Peachtree Corners as a member of the zoning board of appeals and has served as president of their neighborhood HOA.

Carry and Jed DeLong are longtime supporters of NHS and the community. Although all three of their children have graduated, they are still active with the foundation and help every year. 

Dr. Phyllis Alexandra Gerard 

Dr. Phyllis Gerard
Dr. Phyllis Gerard

Dr. Phyllis Gerard was born 60 years ago on the small island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is the youngest of four children and proud of her Afro-Caribbean Latin American heritage. Dr. Gerard made her way to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

There she met her lifetime mentor, Dr. Richard L. Hayes, a motivating force and staunch supporter as she pursued her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in community counseling. Dr. Gerard found employment in a counseling position at a school-based medical clinic in Chicago. Richard T. Crane High School, located on the west side of Chicago, taught her critical lessons about serving students with a myriad of needs. 

Dr. Gerard pursued a Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Georgia. Dr. Hayes served as her major professor and influenced her desire to pursue a career in education. In 1998, while being interviewed by Dr. Francis Davis on the UGA campus, she was offered a position in a high school setting in Gwinnett County. 

During the interview at the old Norcross School building on Beaver Ruin Road, high school principal Judy Rogers asked Dr. Gerard to commit to remaining at Norcross for five years. She agreed, and the rest is history. 

Dr. Gerard has now served at NHS for 25 years in the counseling department and contends that this group of colleagues are by far the best group she has had worked with. She admits it is often difficult, but the work is incredibly rewarding. She calls her kids her “babies” or her “peoples” and delights in making them smile. 

Dr. Gerard’s daily task is to help students make better choices as they weather their own personal storms while identifying future paths that will lead to successful educational and/or career choices. 

Elner had high praise for Dr. Gerard and her dedication. “She is just an incredible counselor at our school, but she’s so much more than that,” said Elner. “She has such a heart for our students in her community and she has been so devoted to it. …People who aren’t even enrolled yet, who are just interested, she treats them like they are family because of how she sees them.”

Lee Newman

Lee Newman
Lee Newman

Lee Newman has served as the director of bands at Norcross High School since 2011. His duties include directing the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Blue Devil Marching Band, brass studies and leadership as well as teaching International Baccalaureate music classes. 

During his time at Norcross, Newman has continued a proud tradition of excellence. His ensembles have been invited to perform at the Georgia State Honor Bands of Distinction in 2013, 64th Annual UGA January Music Festival in 2014, the 2015, 2018, and 2020 Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert festival, the 2018 and 2020 Yamaha National Concert Festival, and the 2021 and 2022 Georgia Music Educators In- Service Conference. 

Newman has served in multiple leadership roles, including NHS Fine Arts Department Chair, Gwinnett County High School Band Co Lead Teacher, District 13 Band Chair and District 13 Chair. He was also named the Norcross High School Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year.

“He has impacted so many students,” said Elner. “It’s just neat to think that his children have grown up in the community and now he has one of his children as a student. …He does such a good job of engaging every single student in his program.”

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Peachtree Corners Installs Little Free Library in Memorial to Benjamin “Lloyd” Cloer 



Benjamin in Sedona

On May 17, the City of Peachtree Corners installed a Memorial Children’s Little Free Library at the Town Green in the Children’s Corner. The little library was donated by Steve Cloer on behalf of his son, Benjamin “Lloyd” Cloer.

The little free library encourages kids to take a book and leave a book to encourage increased literacy and the love of reading. The library was paid for with funds Benjamin had acquired during his lifetime and was designed and built by Benjamin’s father. It will be registered as an official Little Free Library and will be part of a program that provides over 150,000 libraries in more than 120 countries. 

Benjamin, a Norcross High School (NHS) graduate in 2011, lost his life in an act of senseless gun violence on November 10, 2019. While at NHS, Benjamin was an Honor Student, President of the Science Club, Co-Founder and Co-President of the Philosophy Guild, a member of the Math Team and a violinist in the Orchestra. He earned numerous academic awards and achieved an SAT score that put him in the top 2% of students in the nation.

Following high school, Benjamin was awarded an academic scholarship to attend Pomona College in Claremont, Cal. In 2015, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience with a minor in mathematics. 

Benjamin in Sedona
Benjamin in Sedona

After completing his undergraduate degree, Benjamin continued to pursue his education at Georgia State University as a full-time student. In the fall of 2018, he entered the Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) program at the University of Georgia. In the fall of 2020, Benjamin was planning on attending Georgia Tech to pursue his Doctorate in Artificial Intelligence. 

At 26 years old, a few weeks before he was to complete the requirements for his master’s degree in AI at UGA, Benjamin’s life was taken. Benjamin received his master’s degree in AI from UGA posthumously in May 2020. 

Benjamin is described by those who knew him well as someone filled with compassion and caring for others. He had an innate empathic ability to feel when someone was in need. Many people have described him as being “an old soul.” 

Friends of the Cloer family created an endowment, the Benjamin Lloyd Cloer Endowment for AI. Thanks to everyone who has or will donate, there will forever be a “Benjamin Lloyd Cloer Endowment for AI” at UGA. The endowment began offering grants in the fall of 2020 to students in financial need who are studying artificial intelligence.

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Peachtree Corner’s Goal: The Best Streets, Sidewalks, and Multi-Use Trail System in Gwinnett County



Since the City was founded in 2012, Peachtree Corners has taken these goals very seriously: One, we want our citizens to be safe driving on the best streets in Gwinnett County, and two, we believe in having a walkable community.  With this in mind, we have planned several projects for the creation of new sidewalks and multi-use trails.

To ensure that the City can provide the best streets for our residents, we have conducted a technical analysis of each street to prioritize the order in which those streets are resurfaced.  State-of-the-art imaging technology called Laser Crack Measurement is used to develop a Pavement Coefficient Index (PCI) for each street. Each neighborhood is given an average PCI for all its streets, and all neighborhoods are prioritized based on those averages.  The City performed its most recent analysis in October of 2022.   

In April of this year, the City began work on its scheduled 2023 Street Paving projects.  The following neighborhoods are currently scheduled for paving in 2023.

  • Chattahoochee Station
  • River Valley Station
  • Spalding Hollow
  • Neely Meadows
  • Spalding Bluff
  • Holcomb Bridge Station
  • Spalding Chase
  • Peachtree Square Townhomes

These neighborhoods may not be paved in the order above, but Contractors will post signage in the specific neighborhoods before work begins.

In addition to roads, the City plans for the construction of more sidewalks and multi-use trails.

The location of new sidewalks and multi-use trails is based on the needs and gaps within our current network. We have been focusing on connections to businesses, schools, bus stops, and other public facilities as well as worn paths we have noticed throughout the city that show a clear need for sidewalks. 

Below is the list of sidewalks that will be under construction this summer:

  • Woodhill Dr
  • Meadow Rue Dr
  • Parkway Lane
  • Jay Bird Alley
  • Green Pointe Parkway
  • The Corners Parkway

Additionally, we have several sidewalks that are currently under design:

  • Jay Bird Alley
  • SR 141/Peachtree Parkway 
  • Jones Bridge Circle 

Multi-Use Trails that are currently under construction are in Technology Park, at Town Center, and the Riverlands Path, located on East Jones Bridge Road and Medlock Bridge Road.

In the future, the City will work towards the design and construction of the following multi-use trails:

Burdell Branch: This portion of the system will connect Engineering Drive south to Woodhill Drive. An existing segment of Corners Connector currently ends at Engineering Drive and Peachtree Parkway in front of the Corners Fine Wine & Spirits and RaceTrac.  This project will extend that trail infrastructure south to the Chick-fil-A area and its adjacent shopping centers.

Farrell Creek: Will consist of approximately 2.13 miles of 10′ to 12′ concrete multi-use trail. It is proposed to run from Peachtree Corners Circle west of Peachtree Parkway to Engineering Drive. This trail would run around two water features along Triangle Parkway and an additional water feature north of Engineering Drive.

Crooked Creek Trail North: Crooked Creek Trail North is composed of 7 segments totaling approximately 4.04 miles. The segment is planned to run along Crooked Creek from the area around Peachtree Corners Circle to Spalding Drive. In addition to the planned 7 segments, there is one alternative segment (.17 miles) that may be constructed as part of the project.

Crooked Creek Trail South: Crooked Creek Trail South is composed of 7 segments totaling approximately 2.95 miles. The segment is planned to run from Peachtree Parkway West to Peachtree Corners Circle. It will be located along Holcomb Bridge Road from Peachtree Parkway to the intersection of Jimmy Carter Blvd. From that intersection, it will move along Crooked Creek to Peachtree Corners Circle.

That’s a brief update on the status of paving, sidewalks, and multi-use trails in the City.  Although there will be some delays and inconvenience, please bear with us as we complete our current paving schedules.  We want our citizens to be confident that we are making progress on our goal of having the best streets, sidewalks, and multiuse trails in Gwinnett County.  

Stay safe,


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City Government

How will drones be used in the city, new City Budget is coming up and City Marshals are ready to be hired.



The City Marshals will also be working with projects related to law enforcement and the use of drones.

The city of Peachtree Corners, Georgia has been continuing to make strides in technology and community development. In the latest episode of “Prime Lunchtime with The City Manager,” Brian Johnson shared several updates and plans for the city.

The Curiosity Lab Criterion Road Race

During the Curiosity Lab Criterion Road Race, Spoke Safety officially unveiled their new road safety technology. This device enhances safety for vulnerable road users by allowing for two-way communication between the device and automobiles, providing safety messages to drivers.

The event was livestreamed internationally, and Audi became an official partner in the project. The partnership will explore the enhancement of the vulnerable road user technology to make it better, easier to use and scalable.

Pickleball feasibility study

The city is considering building a 40-50 court pickleball facility and has commissioned a sports facility consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study. They will determine the market demand and economic impact. The study is expected to take a month, and results will be presented to the mayor, council and interested parties in early summer.

“Clearly there’s a demand,” Brian Johnson shared. “The question is, is it enough for the city to end up putting any time, energy and money into facilitating something? And we want to make sure that we are shooting at the bullseye that we need to.”

The city marshal system

Additionally, the city is starting a city marshal program, which will begin with three post-certified marshals. The job announcement and requirements will be posted in May with interviews to be conducted in June. The program is expected to start in July, and the marshals will be based in City Hall.

The city marshals will have access to brand new hybrid vehicles, drones and the fūsus technology. The marshals will have the same authorities as any other police officer but be limited by policy. The Mayor and council will establish the policies and limitations on what the city marshals will be able to do.

Budget, housing, dog parks and more

During the May City Council Meeting, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year will be officially presented to the city. The budget includes increased funding for street resurfacing, multi-use trail activity and housing redevelopment in the south part of the city. The housing redevelopment project aims to acquire foreclosed and dilapidated properties and build affordable starter homes with equity control to make them accessible to more residents.

The city is using federal funds from the ARPA and will work with the Gwinnett Housing Authority for this project. The purchase price of these homes will be controlled through agreements with the building entity to prevent prices from getting out of hand. This will help fill the demand for starter homes in the area and remove squalor, vacant homes and foreclosed homes.

The city is constructing a dog park at the Town Center with two separate halves for big and small dogs. The park will be made of Astroturf to prevent dogs from digging and getting muddy. There will also be shade structures and seating areas for owners.

After the last event on the summer event calendar, the Town Center will undergo construction to relocate playground equipment and improve drainage. The playground equipment will be organized into two different areas for younger and older children.

North American Properties recently had the groundbreaking for the upcoming Forum redevelopment. The first section of the interior parking spaces will be removed to finish the Linear Park. In addition, there will be new outdoor seating and the parking deck will start construction in the late 2023 season.

FAA and drone programs

The city is working with the drone regulation team of the FAA to help create a local drone activity regulation. The FAA is interested in how it can handle multiple drones using the same wireless signal, even when beyond visual line of sight.

Peachtree Corners and the FAA will work with partnerships with T-Mobile and Deutsche Telecom to utilize the 5G wireless environment in the City. The City Marshals will also be working with projects related to law enforcement and the use of drones. The goal is to help the FAA issue regulations on private drones.

Overall, Peachtree Corners is a city that is making significant investments in technology and community development. With all of these upcoming plans, it is clear that the city is working to improve the lives of its residents.

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