Building the Team, Building the Dream

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Building the Team, Building the Dream

Shared By Laurie Kimbrel   /     Mar 22, 2016  /     Uncategorized  /  

A Letter from Dr. Laurie Kimbrel
March 22, 2016

Dear Brookhaven Innovation Academy Community,

It is truly an honor to be named as the founding Head of School for BIA. The mission to serve students through the process of “Deeper Learning by Design” is not only my personal educational passion, but also, the most effective method to ensure that all students learn and grow every day.

I first became interested in BIA by attending one of the informational events last fall. As I listened to the board members eloquently share their vision for a school that gives parents and their children a high quality alternative, I knew that I wanted to be a part of their exciting work. I applaud the dedication and commitment of the board in obtaining one of only three charters granted by the state of Georgia last year. Their belief in a process of schooling where learning is personalized, where students have access to the best teachers and resources, and where STEM outcomes are achieved through project based learning is a proven model that will greatly benefit not only our students, but also the future of our communities.

As a seasoned educator, my values and beliefs are very well aligned with the mission and vision of BIA. Here’s what I know to be true based both on educational research and my own years of experience as an educator:

Effective schools are structured so that all students learn at high levels every day.
We all have a little trouble learning at some point and the right amount of help should be available quickly and easily.
Technology supports but does not drive the learning process.
Students who demonstrate mastery of a concept should have opportunities to deepen their learning or move on to the next learning objectives.
There should be clarity and transparency about what students need to know and be able to do. Where we are going and how we are going to get there should never be a mystery to students or parents.
Over time we should work to ensure our students are the drivers of their own learning.
Great teachers are one of the keys to great schools. It is essential that we hire and retain only the very best and that we provide time for collaboration and professional development.
Effective partnerships with parents are another key to great schools. There should be a variety of ways for parents to participate based on their own interests and needs.
A positive school culture is essential to the learning process. As a school we will strive to support innovation, create learning experiences that are relevant and engaging, celebrate diversity, and incorporate the interests and strengths of our students into learning.
Overall, school should be a place where we are all are cared for, and where learning is fun.

Our theme for the 2016-2017 school year will be “Building the Team & Building the Dream.” Opening a new school is a daunting task and it will take all of us working together to achieve our goal of a successful launch. I’m looking forward to meeting you all and working together over the coming years to ensure that BIA becomes a model of effective education for our community, state and nation. I invite you to be a part of our team by continuing to attend our events and by answering the calls for volunteers that will come to you shortly.

Finally, I would like to thank the board for seeing and acting upon the need for innovative education in their community. Their understanding that schools of the 21st century can and should provide personalized, relevant and engaging experiences are the dream that together, we will bring to life at Brookhaven Innovation Academy.


Laurie Kimbrel, Ed.D.

For frequent updates on BIA activities, follow me on Twitter @BIAHeadofSchool and Facebook.



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  • About Laurie Kimbrel

    The current project manager for the Atlanta K-12 Design Challenge, Laurie Kimbrel is an educator with many years’ experience. Before undertaking this position in 2015, Kimbrel served as Superintendent of the Tamalpais Union High School District in Larkspur, California, where she oversaw 4,200 students, 435 staff members, and managed a $63 million budget. Among other achievements under Laurie Kimbrel’s tenure, the district implemented a leadership model that formed Professional Learning Communities designed to augment teacher effectiveness through shared assessment data.

    Kimbrel holds a bachelor of science in music and business from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. She also received a master of science in special education from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, and completed her education with leadership-based doctoral studies at Loyola University in Chicago.

    Dedicated to her community, Laurie Kimbrel is a hospice volunteer and works with nonprofits aimed at ensuring every child has access to great teachers and schools. She is also passionate about education reform and champions efforts to bring about effective hiring practices in schools.

  • Education & Publications


    Loyola University Chicago - Doctorate, Curriculum & Instruction

    National Louis University, Certificate of Advanced Study, Educational Leadership

    Dominican University, Master of Science, Special Education

    Millikin University, Bachelor of Science, Music and Business

    It's a Man's World: How to Achieve Success as a Woman in High School District, AASA Women in Leadership Conference, 2013

    How to Run a Clean Construction Program, California School Board Convention, 2012

    A Transition Success Story: California School Boards Association Conference, 2009

    Program Growth and High Achievement: College Board National Conference, 2008

    Building Leadership Capacity through Effective Staffing Planning, Illinois Association of Personnel Administrators Conference, 2008

    Improving Student Achievement: Illinois NCLB Conference, 2007

    Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations: Lake County Personnel Administrators Conference, 2007

    The Impact of Proactive Classroom Management, Doctoral Dissertation, Loyola University, 2002

  • Community Service

    Laurie Kimbrel volunteers for a number of community organizations including Bristol Hospice as a patient volunteer, Destiny's Daughter's of Promise as a student mentor and Students First as an advocate for effective educational practices.
  • Contact Laurie Kimbrel