OUR TEAM

As director of Kingfisher Academy I’ve been with the school since its very inception. I always knew that I wanted and needed to work at a small community-based school and Kingfisher is the embodiment of that desire. Kingfisher is a wonderful and challenging environment and we intend to keep it that way.

I have taught in preschools and elementary schools in the metro Atlanta area for over 31 years.  I directed a non-profit private school in West Georgia for ten years and was the curriculum coordinator for the YWCA for three years.  My degree is from Georgia State with my Masters in British Infant Schooling, which is very similar to the Reggio Emilia style of teaching. I have also taken numerous natural science courses and teach CDA courses at community colleges around the Metro Atlanta area.

I live in Clarkston (about 7 minutes away) and I have two adult children living and working in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.  I serve on several county and city committees and task forces, I spearheaded the annual Clarkston Bike Rodeo event, I am a member of Sierra Club, Atlanta Science Tavern, Atlanta Birdwatchers Group, and am on The Clarkston 2040 committee.  I have 5 garden plots to maintain, am redoing my deck and porches at home, have two Cocker Spaniels, and one crazy cat.

I’m interested in all kinds of things, but recently have become extremely interested in urban planning and how it creates a certain quality of life for the citizens of an area. I also love crafting (art with a practical purpose) and it’s hard to resist stenciling all over the school. I recently finished a quilt made of small circles that turned into a fringe that goes all around my house–my neighbors are worried that I’m going to start a “yard art collection” next.

I’m also a bird watcher and have worked off and on with Fernbank and Audubon over the years. This year, I will be working toward my certification as a Tree-Keeper with Trees Atlanta and then will take Project Wild, Project Wet, and Project Learning Tree at Chattahoochee Nature Center (possibly this fall). Along with that, I’m aiming for the Master Gardener Program for Teachers put out by the UGA Extension Agency.

One of my most important hobbies is being a phenologist—that is I watch for seasonal events in nature and report them to Cornell—such as, when the dogwood put out their blossoms, or spotting the first Monarch butterfly of the spring. Through the work of phenologists and citizen scientists, we are collecting really important data regarding the changes in weather patterns that are being noted all over the world. When I’m tired or bored, I watch the last two seasons of Wayward Pines on Hulu or Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I am also addicted to reading complex mysteries, especially if they take place in Canada or Alaska.

Debbie Gathmann

School Director | Science Teacher

As director of Kingfisher Academy I’ve been with the school since its very inception. I always knew that I wanted and needed to work at a small community-based school and Kingfisher is the embodiment of that desire. Kingfisher is a wonderful and challenging environment and we intend to keep it that way.

I have taught in preschools and elementary schools in the metro Atlanta area for over 31 years.  I directed a non-profit private school in West Georgia for ten years and was the curriculum coordinator for the YWCA for three years.  My degree is from Georgia State with my Masters in British Infant Schooling, which is very similar to the Reggio Emilia style of teaching. I have also taken numerous natural science courses and teach CDA courses at community colleges around the Metro Atlanta area.

I live in Clarkston (about 7 minutes away) and I have two adult children living and working in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.  I serve on several county and city committees and task forces, I spearheaded the annual Clarkston Bike Rodeo event, I am a member of Sierra Club, Atlanta Science Tavern, Atlanta Birdwatchers Group, and am on The Clarkston 2040 committee.  I have 5 garden plots to maintain, am redoing my deck and porches at home, have two Cocker Spaniels, and one crazy cat.

I’m interested in all kinds of things, but recently have become extremely interested in urban planning and how it creates a certain quality of life for the citizens of an area. I also love crafting (art with a practical purpose) and it’s hard to resist stenciling all over the school. I recently finished a quilt made of small circles that turned into a fringe that goes all around my house–my neighbors are worried that I’m going to start a “yard art collection” next.

I’m also a bird watcher and have worked off and on with Fernbank and Audubon over the years. This year, I will be working toward my certification as a Tree-Keeper with Trees Atlanta and then will take Project Wild, Project Wet, and Project Learning Tree at Chattahoochee Nature Center (possibly this fall). Along with that, I’m aiming for the Master Gardener Program for Teachers put out by the UGA Extension Agency.

One of my most important hobbies is being a phenologist—that is I watch for seasonal events in nature and report them to Cornell—such as, when the dogwood put out their blossoms, or spotting the first Monarch butterfly of the spring. Through the work of phenologists and citizen scientists, we are collecting really important data regarding the changes in weather patterns that are being noted all over the world. When I’m tired or bored, I watch the last two seasons of Wayward Pines on Hulu or Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I am also addicted to reading complex mysteries, especially if they take place in Canada or Alaska.

Debbie Gathmann

School Director | Science Teacher

Dwayne is a certified teacher with specializations in social studies, science, and math. He received his Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Bowie State University and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Dwayne has roots in small towns in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Both places are instrumental in his philosophy that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’

Dwayne has taught in the public school systems in Maryland and Georgia for six years and also served as a tutor for children without permanent housing. He was also a YMCA summer science camp counselor and a Sylvan Learning Center Tutor.

While in Maryland he developed innovative programs such as the “Living Museum” to expose young learners to history not often taught in school systems. In Georgia, Dwayne developed and led school-wide efforts to raise money for the national monument for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dwayne is married and lives in Smoke Rise, GA. He is an avid vegetable gardener with the Stone Mountain Community Garden. He enjoys cooking breakfast, especially blueberry pancakes!  He enjoys reading, exercise, and listening to Sports Radio, Pandora, Pod Casts, and Ted Talks.

This school year he will enjoy learning Spanish from Senora Fretwell, Kingfisher’s wonderful Spanish teacher.

In his role as the Assistant Director at Kingfisher Academy, Dwayne works daily to support the Director and the teaching staff in their combined efforts to make Kingfisher Academy the best private school east of Atlanta. He is excited about the upcoming school year and looks forward to working with returning and new Kingfisher Kids and Parents. If you have any questions please feel free to contact him in person at Kingfisher, by phone (678) 615-2315 or by email.

Dwayne Smith

Assistant Director

Dwayne is a certified teacher with specializations in social studies, science, and math. He received his Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Bowie State University and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Dwayne has roots in small towns in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Both places are instrumental in his philosophy that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’

Dwayne has taught in the public school systems in Maryland and Georgia for six years and also served as a tutor for children without permanent housing. He was also a YMCA summer science camp counselor and a Sylvan Learning Center Tutor.

While in Maryland he developed innovative programs such as the “Living Museum” to expose young learners to history not often taught in school systems. In Georgia, Dwayne developed and led school-wide efforts to raise money for the national monument for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dwayne is married and lives in Smoke Rise, GA. He is an avid vegetable gardener with the Stone Mountain Community Garden. He enjoys cooking breakfast, especially blueberry pancakes!  He enjoys reading, exercise, and listening to Sports Radio, Pandora, Pod Casts, and Ted Talks.

This school year he will enjoy learning Spanish from Senora Fretwell, Kingfisher’s wonderful Spanish teacher.

In his role as the Assistant Director at Kingfisher Academy, Dwayne works daily to support the Director and the teaching staff in their combined efforts to make Kingfisher Academy the best private school east of Atlanta. He is excited about the upcoming school year and looks forward to working with returning and new Kingfisher Kids and Parents. If you have any questions please feel free to contact him in person at Kingfisher, by phone (678) 615-2315 or by email.

Dwayne Smith

Assistant Director

A Amy Parsons

Lower Elementary Teacher

A Amy Parsons

Lower Elementary Teacher

Sha’Drach Qawiy (pronounced kah-wee)  joins Kingfisher Academy as a Lead Teacher in what he calls his classroom, “The Department of Success in the Academy of Great”. Prior to coming to Kingfisher, he was a substitute teacher at Midtown International School, served as the Education Program Manager at a local non-profit, and was a Fulton County 4-H Agent

Sha’Drach received his B.S. in Business Management from Paine College in Augusta, Georgia and his M.Ed. from Strayer University. Sha’Drach’s teaching experience includes teaching advanced leadership and secondary math. He has developed new programs as a County 4-H Agent, and as the Student Government Advisor at the Atlanta Job Corps.

His primary educational interest is in the field of Problem Based Learning. Specifically in the implementation of the 4C’s: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.

In his free time, he practices yoga, listens to jazz, explores the city for unique vintage goods and instances of public art.

Sha’Drach believes that today’s youth and parents deserve the comfort in knowing that there are educators, still willing to go above and beyond to ensure social and educational achievement.

Sha’Drach Qawiy

Upper Elementary Teacher

Sha’Drach Qawiy (pronounced kah-wee)  joins Kingfisher Academy as a Lead Teacher in what he calls his classroom, “The Department of Success in the Academy of Great”. Prior to coming to Kingfisher, he was a substitute teacher at Midtown International School, served as the Education Program Manager at a local non-profit, and was a Fulton County 4-H Agent

Sha’Drach received his B.S. in Business Management from Paine College in Augusta, Georgia and his M.Ed. from Strayer University. Sha’Drach’s teaching experience includes teaching advanced leadership and secondary math. He has developed new programs as a County 4-H Agent, and as the Student Government Advisor at the Atlanta Job Corps.

His primary educational interest is in the field of Problem Based Learning. Specifically in the implementation of the 4C’s: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.

In his free time, he practices yoga, listens to jazz, explores the city for unique vintage goods and instances of public art.

Sha’Drach believes that today’s youth and parents deserve the comfort in knowing that there are educators, still willing to go above and beyond to ensure social and educational achievement.

Sha’Drach Qawiy

Upper Elementary Teacher

My name is Tyra, I started teaching at Kingfisher Academy in 2013. I’m the afterschool teacher, and occasionally I assist the other teachers with activities. Outside of Kingfisher, I go to school at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, the city where I live. I’m a junior seeking my Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Teaching. I also do two internships, both humanities related. One of them is as a Media Intern for a children’s bookstore and the other is as a sound editor for a Podcast group that discusses books and TV shows.

I have a four year old brother that lives in Buford with my Dad and Stepmom, and a twenty year old brother that’s stationed in Korea with the U.S. army. My mom and extended family all live in Des Moines, Iowa where I spent my early childhood.

My favorite things to do are to watch movies/TV shows, play the Sims and read comic books. I love everything “the Walking Dead”, and I’ve owned 20+ versions of “The Sims” and have played even more. Every week I hold a competition in Afterschool where the children build or create anything they can think of in just 20 minutes based off of a new vocabulary word, and then they present their creations in front of everyone in the classroom. I love this competition because it teaches children creativity, time management, and inadvertently teaches them the vocabulary word!

Tyra Locke

Afterschool Teacher

My name is Tyra, I started teaching at Kingfisher Academy in 2013. I’m the afterschool teacher, and occasionally I assist the other teachers with activities. Outside of Kingfisher, I go to school at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, the city where I live. I’m a junior seeking my Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Teaching. I also do two internships, both humanities related. One of them is as a Media Intern for a children’s bookstore and the other is as a sound editor for a Podcast group that discusses books and TV shows.

I have a four year old brother that lives in Buford with my Dad and Stepmom, and a twenty year old brother that’s stationed in Korea with the U.S. army. My mom and extended family all live in Des Moines, Iowa where I spent my early childhood.

My favorite things to do are to watch movies/TV shows, play the Sims and read comic books. I love everything “the Walking Dead”, and I’ve owned 20+ versions of “The Sims” and have played even more. Every week I hold a competition in Afterschool where the children build or create anything they can think of in just 20 minutes based off of a new vocabulary word, and then they present their creations in front of everyone in the classroom. I love this competition because it teaches children creativity, time management, and inadvertently teaches them the vocabulary word!

Tyra Locke

Afterschool Teacher

My name is Jannette Fretwell and  I am originally from Havana, Cuba.  I came to the United States in 1966 and became a citizen in 1973.  I have lived in Georgia most of my life.

I attended Georgia State University and have a Masters in Community Counseling and Education.  I am married with two adult children who attend Duke University and the University of Georgia.  I love to garden, travel, and teach foreign languages.   I enjoy being creative, musical, and going to the movies and theatre.

Jannette Fretwell

Spanish Teacher

My name is Jannette Fretwell and  I am originally from Havana, Cuba.  I came to the United States in 1966 and became a citizen in 1973.  I have lived in Georgia most of my life.

I attended Georgia State University and have a Masters in Community Counseling and Education.  I am married with two adult children who attend Duke University and the University of Georgia.  I love to garden, travel, and teach foreign languages.   I enjoy being creative, musical, and going to the movies and theatre.

Jannette Fretwell

Spanish Teacher