Georgia Charter Schools Association is pleased to announce that Katherine Kelbaugh, founding principal of the Museum School of Avondale Estates, has been selected as GCSA’s 2018 Leader of the Year.
“I am honored to receive the 2018 Leader of the Year award. It is an especially great honor considering that our state is full of inspiring and dedicated charter leaders. I gratefully accept this award on behalf of the entire Museum School community. Our community of students, staff, parents, and partners work hard to offer students a high-quality, innovative education and I am thrilled that we are able to celebrate this award together.”
Kelbaugh started her education career in Georgia teaching Kindergarten and first grade. She then moved to Broward County Florida where she taught third grade, served as Lead Teacher, Mentor Teacher and a Reading Specialist at Central Charter School in Lauderdale Lakes. Two years later, she became the school’s assistant principal.
In November 2009, Kelbaugh joined the yet-to-be-chartered Museum School of Avondale Estates as its principal. The following year, she played a pivotal role in securing a state charter for the school and a county charter in 2011. In addition to the school’s charter she also successfully negotiated inaugural partnership agreements with major Atlanta and North Georgia institutions, including the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, the High Museum, and Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
Under Kelbaugh’s leadership, The Museum School has achieved outstanding academic results. The school’s students have scored among Georgia’s top scholars in every subject category on the Georgia Milestones. The school has also consistently surpassed state and district scores on Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index. In addition, the Museum School of Avondale Estates has seen very low staff and student turnover after seven years of operation, and a survey shows parents are highly satisfied.
Kelbaugh earned the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education’s Principal Award and served on Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2012 Education Advisory Board. She represented the school and Georgia’s charter school community at the Georgia Race to the Top Innovation Fund Workshop and has presented at conferences of the Georgia Charter Schools Association, the Georgia Art Education Association, the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries, the Woodruff Arts Educator’s Conference, the American Alliance of Museums, the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals, the Association of Middle Level Education and the Georgia Council for the Social Studies.
Kelbaugh is the founding Executive Director of the National Association of Museum Schools, uniting over 45 museum schools across the country.