Top of the Class: Grateful to lead an amazing school’

Indian Creek Elementary School is the proud home of the 2022-23 DeKalb County School District Principal of the Year! Principal Stephanie Brown-Bryant is no stranger to public education, coming from a long line of family educators. Her passion for teaching and dedication to her students and staff have earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues and the families and community she serves.

Her mother served as a paraprofessional, her father is currently the Center Director for a Job Corps Center in New York, her grandmother taught for 32 years, and her grandfather was the headmaster for black schools during the time when they were segregated. So, it was a no-brainer that she would follow in their footsteps into the education field, even though it wasn’t her plan initially.

“I did not plan on being a teacher, but I realized how much I loved school, and I always had wonderful teachers,” said Principal Brown-Bryant. “Specifically, my 5th-grade teacher, Dr. Charlotte Eady, was a prominent role model, and I loved everything she taught. I followed her career and hoped that one day I would be as inspirational to others as she was to me.”

Principal Brown-Bryant was honored during the district’s 9th Annual Academy of Educational Excellence Awards in February. Each of the seven regional Principals of the Year is honored before the district’s Principal of the Year is announced.

“Being Principal of the Year is an honor and makes me feel immensely proud. I understand the dedication and hard work of school leaders throughout the district and what that means to the success of our students and staff,” said Principal Brown-Bryant. “I do not take it lightly that the recognition serves as a representation of all principals, and I will continue to work hard and demonstrate the characteristics of an effective leader.”

The school and the city of Clarkston were overjoyed about Principal Brown-Bryant’s district honor. She received a proclamation from the mayor of Clarkston, Beverly Burks, proclaiming March 24 as Principal Stephanie Brown-Bryant Day (or Principal BB Day) in Clarkston.

“Our PTA recognized me with a gift at an event, and our students are quite elated about the news,” she said. “We have been quite busy with our normal day-to-day tasks, but we took a few days to celebrate with some of my favorite things.”

A Camilla, Georgia native, Principal Brown-Bryant started her teaching career in DeKalb in 1996 after graduating from Valdosta State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education. She served as a teacher at Livsey Elementary School and Tucker Middle School. She later became an instructional coach at Miller Grove Middle School, then an assistant principal at Hawthorne Elementary, and now serves as principal at Indian Creek.

She has a long list of accolades, including Teacher of the Year (2001, 2008), Middle School Teacher of the Year (2008), and Educational Support Person of the Year (2017). She received the Joe Richardson Award for Exemplary Leadership from Georgia State University’s Principals Center (2022) and was a Yale National Fellow (2008-2011).

“DeKalb has provided phenomenal opportunities for me to grow as an educator and leader,” she said.

Her love of technology led her to pursue master’s and specialist degrees in computer science from Nova Southeastern University. She said being an educator and principal has enriched her life through her relationships and experiences with diverse and caring people.

“When parents bring their children to school, they trust that you will nurture and prepare them to fulfill the dreams envisioned by them and their ancestors,” she said. “I do not take the expectation and responsibility of being an educator and principal lightly because I know that I send my children to school with the same expectation of other parents.

She said she is grateful to lead an amazing school such as Indian Creek.

“Indian Creek is the most wonderful place to learn! I have a magnificent staff who are dedicated and culturally competent to address the needs of our refugee and minority population,” she said. “Despite the many challenges that our students face, they come to school ready to learn and realize their potential. We have been recognized for our academic growth and positive learning environment, which are products of the collaborative efforts of our staff. I am grateful to lead in an amazing school where I am fulfilled, valued, and inspired.”