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The Bulletin

June 8, 2020

Home of
District Governor:
Jim Squire
Past District Governors
Frank Bentley,
Ralph Thurmond,
and Barry Smith


June is Rotary Fellowships Month

Our Rotary Family

6/3 Bob Belmonte
6/6 Steven Jordan
6/6 James Paschal
6/13 Sally Wyeth Mclaughlin
6/23 Rusty Paul


6/11 Steve Soteres (34)
6/14 Fred Ferrand (34)
6/28 Linda Randolph (34)

Rotary Online


Sandy Springs

Mondays, 12:15 pm
Hilton Suites
6120 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, NE
Sandy Springs, GA 30328 FacebookTwitterInstagram


President Nancy Schroeder
President-Elect John Neill
Treasurer John Neill
Secretary Mike Stacy
Foundation Will MacArthur
Public Image Todd Lawrimore

President Nancy Schroeder's Welcome Message

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs, I welcome you to visit our club and experience the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs' hospitality and energy. We meet on Monday for lunch at 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Hilton Perimeter Suites, 6120 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. You can reserve a spot by going to our website at www.sandyspringsrotary.org. Join your fellow professionals, and community and business leaders, and learn how Rotary can fit in your future. Experience Rotary Making A Difference!

Other News
The Installation Banquet for John Neill will be June 13th

Mark your calendars and plan the join the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs for John Neill's installation as our next club president.

The banquet will be at the Dunwoody Country Club on June 13th, 2020.

Please call, write or email Nancy ASAP with your dinner request.

Previous Program
Garrett Smiley and the Sora high school experiment

On June 8th, Garrett Smiley from SORA Schools addressed the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs. SORA Schools, as Mr. Smiley states, is a “high school experiment”. Remembering his own experience from high school, he and his partners set about to find a better way to engage students and teachers. He believes students are not reaching their potentials and that many teachers are underutilized. Garrett says it is abundantly clear that the talents of our teachers are being hindered by the traditional methods and a paradigm change is needed. This led him to find investors and start a brand new experiment.

This slide was captured during Garrett's presentation and helps to illustrate his motivation for starting SORA schools.

The students of SORA have a series of daily workshops, learning sessions, and opt-in student-led clubs that support their chosen curriculum. Students report daily in online group sessions with the teachers and each has to propose goals for the day and identify potential blockers. One of SORA’s most special offerings is a Mentor Network. Garrett and his partners have built an extensive list of mentors in which students can meet and seek advice directly from professionals. These mentors are matched to the student’s career track.

“What if you could talk to someone who has already become the person you’d like to be.”

In the spirit of Rotary’s fourth test, “Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”, The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs would like to thank Garrett for his explorations into advanced teaching techniques. The SORA experiment seems to be a valid and exciting approach for both teachers and students.

A slide from Garrett's presentation which helps to guide the core structure of SORA schools.

If you have questions for Garrett, he can be reached here: garrett@soraschools.com
For quick biographical information click here: https://sandyspringsrotary.org/story/4090
More information about SORA schools can be found here: www.soraschools.com

For your information: SORA is not an acronym. When asked about the origin of the name, Garrett simply stated without elaboration that it was derived from the small waterbird of the Rallidae family. https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/sora/cur/introduction

Upcoming Program
Dr. Looney


The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs treasures and actively contributes to our local school system. So it with special excitement that we are pleased to welcome Doctor Mike Looney to our Monday (June 15th | 12:15pm) meeting. Dr. Looney joins Fulton County Schools after recently serving as Superintendent of Williamson County Schools in Tennessee, where he was named 2015 Superintendent of the year by Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS).

He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and Master's degree in Education from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Dr. Looney earned his Educational Specialist Degree and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Looney's work has been presented for regional and national audiences on a wide range of educational and leadership topics.

He has served on several distinguished panels including President George W. Bush's National Reading Leadership Panel in Washington D.C.

Dr. Looney also served as Superintendent of the Butler County School District in Alabama. Under his leadership the school district realized significant student achievement gains, improved the graduation rate, and established the district's first magnet school. In recognition of his work there, he was selected as Greenville, Alabama's Citizen of the Year in 2008.

Before arriving at Butler, he was Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in Montgomery Public Schools. Under his leadership, the district of 61 schools and 31,000 students received national notoriety for its improvement in reading achievement scores.

Dr. Looney, a public educator since 1994, has also served in the roles of classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal. During his tenure as principal, his school was recognized for closing the achievement gap for underprivileged and minority students. His school was highlighted at both the state and national levels and was named a National Title I Distinguished School.

Prior to entering the field of education, he served as finance manager for a privately-held corporation with fifty employees in Anniston, Alabama. His responsibilities included corporate finance, marketing, and human resource management.

Dr. Looney is a military veteran having served for seven years in the United States Marine Corps before being honorably discharged with a service-related injury. His military service was distinguished by four meritorious promotions which included his being selected as the Marine of the Year for MCRS Montgomery serving Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. In addition to other medals and ribbons, Dr. Looney was the recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. His military duties took him all over the world and included a six-month tour on the USS Raleigh with the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Amphibious Force. He is the father of four grown children.

You are all invited to join the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs to meet, listen to and ask questions of Dr. Looney. Again, the time is Monday, June 15, 12:15 at the Hilton Hotel on Peachtree-Dunwoody road. Remember we're meeting in the big tent to provide ample social distancing.

More information about Dr. Looney and Fulton County Schools can be found here:

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