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Henderson Mill Elementary

Dekalb County Schools

About Us

About Henderson Mill

Drop-off: 7:00
Classrooms Open: 7:25
Tardy after: 7:45
Dismissal Starts: 2:15
Dismissal Ends at 2:40
Welcome to a world of learning! At Henderson Mill Elementary School we strive to ensure that our children receive an excellent education. Our student body is diverse, with many different countries represented. Henderson Mill students do well and are recognized for their achievement in numerous activities representing the school. We earned state STEM certification through the Georgia Department of Education in October 2012 becoming the first Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade STEM certified school in the state of Georgia. We invite you to visit one of the best schools in DeKalb County at Henderson Mill!

The mission of Henderson Mill Elementary is to educate each child through meaningful experiences which enhance their creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and citizenship.
Our vision is that Henderson Mill Elementary will become a world-class, diverse STEAM school of globally-minded, creative, and highly motivated students. Partnerships among students, teachers, families, and the community will contribute to meaningful experiences, inspiring our students to dream big and reach their full potential.

School History 
With the growth of the Briarlake and Hawthorne areas, the DeKalb County Board of Education purchased 7.75 acres of land from the estate of Mr. Newell Jones for $25,000. The site on which the school is built was at one time part of the plantation belonging to Greenville Nathaniel Henderson. A ground breaking ceremony was held on the present site on October 25, 1963. Taking part in the ceremony were Superintendent Jim Cherry and the Co-Presidents of the Hawthorne and Briarlake PTAs. The original Henderson Mill School consisted of 16 classrooms, a teacher’s lounge, a clinic, two sets of restrooms, a cafetorium, kitchen, three storage rooms, a suite of offices, and a library with a conference room and a workroom, a total of 34,609 square feet. The cost of the original building was $567,635.51. The building was officially dedicated on February 7, 1965 as Henderson Mill School, the name being derived from the old Henderson Mill, a grain grinding mill, operated by Greenville Henderson prior to the Civil War.

On January 11, 1965 the Henderson Mill School began operation with approximately half of the 520 students coming from Hawthorne School and the other half from Briarlake School. At this time, Henderson Mill School served students in grades 1-7 with 18 teachers on staff serving under the leadership of Mr. Noah Rider. The next year, enrollment jumped to 675 students and the faculty grew as well to 26 teachers. Over the next 8 school years, Mr. Rider built a strong school community where parents were actively involved in the children’s education. In 1973, Ms. Lillian Cantrell took over as Principal of Henderson Mill School as enrollment shrunk to 567 students. Ms. Cantrell served as Principal for 22 years. Under her leadership, the Henderson Mill School saw the addition of many programs that continue to thrive to this very day: a gifted program, the hearing impaired program, team teaching, and reading tutorials. With Ms. Cantrell’s retirement in 1995, after 47 years in education, Mr. Mike Gouge assumed the role of Principal of Henderson Mill School and served from 1995 until 2004. 

With Mr. Gouge’s retirement in the middle of the 2004-05 school year, Dr. Rebecca Jackson took over as Principal and served until the end of the 2013. Under her guidance, Henderson Mill Elementary School, as it is now known, saw a resurgence of energy and enthusiasm surrounding the school being the first Prek-5 elementary school in the State of Georgia to be STEM certified. Business partnerships were established and cultivated with STEM-related companies, and the Henderson Mill Foundation was established as a fundraising mechanism. Dr. Jackson retired in the middle of the 2013-14 school year and Mr. Mitch Green was named Principal of this Georgia School of Excellence. Today, Henderson Mill Elementary School, is a highly successful Title I school serving more than 600 pre-kindergarten-5th grade students. With a focus on developing productive citizens who think critically and creatively about real-world work, the students are engaged in STEM-related learning by doing. Monthly, the doors are opened to visitors from across the State who come to HMES to find out how to establish STEM success in their own schools.

On April 18, 2017, Henderson Mill Elementary School was formally recognized by the State of Georgia as the first STEAM-Certified School in the State of Georgia. This ceremony followed a March 15th visit by representatives from the Georgia Department of Education, where they engaged with our students, teachers, STEAM leadership, parents, and business partners in an effort to determine whether the school met the criteria to become STEAM certified. As true integration was clear to all of the observers, through their experience in the classrooms, the application, and their discussion with our stakeholders, the representatives from the DOE informed our leadership team that Henderson Mill would be the first STEAM-certified school in the State of Georgia.
The formal ceremony to follow incorporated a Pure Imagination theme pulling from the song from the famed children’s movie Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory based upon the children’s novel by Raold Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Students from across the school presented their current PBL work to guests from the DOE, the district office, and our parent and business communities. Both the State Superintendent, Richard Woods, and Dekalb’s Superintendent, Dr. R. Stephen Green, addressed the crowd of children and adults as the State formally presented the first STEAM banner to our principal, Mr. Mitch Green as the representative of the faculty and staff and our community. Mr. Green symbolically handed the banner off to our students in a demonstration of the diligence and commitment to the vision that was present in all students and teachers. As the DOE visitors noted, STEAM is the culture of Henderson Mill.
Our journey to STEAM began in 2010 as the leadership began to acquire and implement key components of our then STEM program. On October 31, 2012, Henderson Mill Elementary School was presented with our official STEM certified. Dr. Michael Buck, Chief Academic Officer for the Georgia Department of Education, led the dedication to the students, faulty, community members, and business partners. This was the culminating event for a team effort that began well over a year prior to transform Henderson Mill Elementary School, a traditional PreK-5th grade school, into a STEM-focused school.

The STEAM program at Henderson Mill Elementary prioritizes a cross-curricular, critical thinking approach to incorporate STEAM into all content areas. Through Project-based Learning, our students take on real-world challenges with a social action component, applying grade level skills to address the problem locally. We also offer the students opportunities to participate in unique programs such as Engineering is Elementary, Small Fry to Go, a school-wide garden, LEGO Build to Express, Aquaponics, and video production. In addition, the school has many influential business partners to help support the STEM program. Among them are AMEC Foster Wheeler, who, with assistance from our students, designed and built a rain collection system for the school garden and who continues to present STEM-related lessons to children in grades 1-5 annually, CERM, Corporate Environmental Risk Management, LLC, who work directly with our students in Science Olympiad, Georgia Power, who present lessons to our 3rd-5th grade students and have provided us a free weeklong camp for our rising 4th and 5th graders, and the Woodruff Arts Center, who have worked extensively with our students and teachers to integrate the Arts into core content teaching and learning.
Our STEAM efforts are supported by the Henderson Mill Elementary School Foundation who raise funds annually from our community members and business sponsors. To read more or to support our Foundation, please click on the following link:
STEAM continues to grow throughout our building with new technologies, apps, business relationships, and professional learning that is growing the capacity of staff and students. Engaged learning is what it is all about, preparing our students for the careers of tomorrow!