Hilsman Middle School

Hilsman Middle School

hil2Principal: Utevia Tolbert

PDSD Activities

Faculty & Student Support

Co-Professors-in-Residence Dr. Kathy Thompson and Dr. Gayle Andrews in the department of educational theory and practice teach on-site courses, supervise interns and student teachers, and collaborate with Hilsman teachers in a variety of ways. They provide opportunities for UGA students to observe many different styles of teaching and assist Hilsman students with their schoolwork, serve on the School Improvement Leadership Team, and work with teachers through ongoing professional learning.

UGA teacher candidates volunteer between 150-430 hours per semester to assist with the schools’ needs outside of the classroom. Examples of volunteer activities & events include Fright Fest, Moonlight Madness, curriculum nights, Saturday Panther Café, school book fair, MathCounts, chorus Rock-a-Thon, tutoring, and various clubs and sports.

PIRs facilitate professional learning at HMS. Examples of professional learning activities include, book studies, mini-conference sessions, grade-level WOW sessions, grant-writing assistance, state and national presentations about our PDS work, and co-authorship on publication. Thompson and Andrews also involve their teacher candidates in HMS professional learning in which teacher candidates demonstrate their learning to HMS faculty about a variety of topics and share resources they have developed as a result. Two examples of this type of professionalAndrews and Thompson learning experience for HMS faculty are the Differentiated Learning Centers Fair and the Genius Hour Fair.

Over the past six years, Thompson and Andrews have co-presented at 20+ national, state, and local conferences with numerous Hilsman faculty members, including current faculty members Nick Hussain, Megan Nix, Meganne Skinner, Conor Naughton, and David Forker.

Click here to read a feature article about Kathy Thompson and Gayle Andrews in the Office of School Engagement newsletter.

School Climate: District-wide PIR Dr. Kat Raczynski supports administrators and school leaders in measuring school climate, identifying areas of focus, and implementing evidence-based initiatives that are responsive to school and community needs.

On-Site Teaching & Learning

Thompson and Andrews co-teach middle school methods courses to 50-60 UGA students on-site each semester.

Dr. David Jackson in the department of mathematics and science education teaches a physical science methods course on-site.

Many programs from across UGA also are involved with Hilsman, including a hands-on science program, an aquaponics lab and a Shakespeare class.

In 2014, Thompson and Andrews co-taught a doctoral course on-site. Students in the course connected their research interests to Hilsman’s Dream School Initiative by completed 12 service-learning projects benefiting Hilsman. A sampling of project topics included fifth-to-sixth-grade transitions, teacher-action research, literacy in the content areas and online parent resources. One service-learning project, developed by Grace Staniszewski (a doctoral student in Educational Administration and Policy and a teacher at Fowler Drive Elementary School) resulted in the implementation of International Baccalaureate (IB) Enrichment Academies for Hilsman students.

Graduate students in another on-site course developed an IB Google site for Hilsman faculty to connect content across subjects, relating content to local and global issues, and involving Hilsman students in service-learning to address those issues.

Dr. Sujata Iyengar, Professor from the English Department, teaches Shakespeare in the Classroom (ENGL 4030/6030S) on-site every Fall semester.


  • Andrews, G., & Thompson, K.F. (2016). Relationships and context matter: Tales from a middle school/university partnership. In P. Howell, J. Carpenter, & J. Jones (Eds.), Clinical preparation at the middle level: Practices and possibilities. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Blankenship, S., Nix, M., Andrews, G., & Thompson, K. (2015). It takes a village: Rethinking how we engage families. AMLE Magazine, 3(4).


Click here for a list of all Hilsman PDS Presentations.

Mentor Teachers

Mark Aqui
7th Grade Math

Cassie Crenshaw
7th Grade English-Language Arts

Audrey Hughes
7th Grade Science

Nick Hussain
7th Grade Math and Social Studies

Kong Heu
7th Grade English-Language Arts

Mark Martin
8th Grade Math

Janet Micheletti
8th Grade English-Language Arts

Pierre Oulevey
8th Grade Social Studies

Meganne Skinner
8th Grade Science

Alexis Zabetakis
English and Language Arts Special Education

Barbara Gaertig

UGA Teacher Candidate Supervisors

Jemelleh Coes
Middle Grades Education Program
Department of Educational Theory & Practice

Dr. Amy Murphy
Middle Grades Education Program
Department of Educational Theory & Practice

Dr. Allison Nealy
Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education

Rachel Ranschaert
Middle Grades Education Program
Department of Educational Theory & Practice

Vicki Scullion
Middle Grades Education Program
Department of Educational Theory & Practice