One of the most crucial first steps in replicating Amana Academy’s flagship campus was choosing a visionary leader to spearhead this expansion to a new campus Helené Brown was selected from a wide field of applicants and joined the Amana Crew in January 2020. Then in March 2020, a mere three months after Helené joined Amana, the world changed with COVID-19 and the State Charter School Commission deferred all new school applications while schools redefined their approach to public education and worked to get through the difficult next few years. Helené immediately stepped into the role of Assistant Principal at Amana’s flagship campus and began learning the ins and outs of the public charter school.
On August 8, 2022, Amana Academy West Atlanta launched and now serves 170 students at their Mableton campus, co-located on the Girl Scouts of Atlanta Camp Timber Ridge site. Here, Helené leads a crew of roughly 30 teachers and staff members. With only a three-week pre-planning timeframe, she crafted a line-up of professional development, team-building, and human resources-related sessions. If team-bonding during these weeks before school started wasn’t enough, then the hustle to flip the summer camp of Camp Timber Ridge and transform it into a school in just 3 days did the trick. With her calming presence at the helm, Helené ensured that Amana West was transformed, while also protecting the mental wellbeing of her staff. She also kept student success at the forefront. Despite behind-the-scenes challenges, Amana West students flourished. In the first semester, students have shown growth in iReady testing results. In math, Amana West moved from 20% of students on or above grade level to 49%. In reading, students moved from 42% on or above grade level to 68%.
Helené has tackled every hill with grace and positivity. She is steadfast in her protection of her teachers, students, and the integrity of the school. These qualities, combined with her character and unending work ethic have earned her the respect of everyone that she comes in contact with.