White House to honor Gwinnett educator

A Gwinnett County educator is being honored Wednesday at the White House for her efforts to help students and her community volunteerism.

Jeanette Griffin-Kimber is one of a dozen educators from across the nation named a White House Champion of Change in the school support category. She’s the only Georgian among the 12 to be honored.

White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is among those expected at the ceremony. President Barack Obama may appear, schedule permitting.

“Amazing, isn’t it?,” the Suwanee resident said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon.

Griffin-Kimber, a substitute teacher coordinator at Meadowcreek High School, is being recognized for her work mentoring students, helping at-risk youth and her volunteer activities with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter and the Gwinnett County Association of Educators, of which she is a co-president.

Meadowcreek High principal Tommy Welch said Griffin-Kimber, who became a substitute teacher at the school in 2005, has always been eager to help students. She gets prom dresses for students who cannot afford one. She helps students with public speaking. She conducts etiquette training for girls.

“She wants to impact the youth in a positive way,” Welch said of Griffin-Kimber. “She does everything from the heart.”

National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia nominated Griffin-Kimber as a Champion of Change upon hearing about her work helping others.

Griffin-Kimber said she learned from her parents the importance of giving back to her community.

“That’s the only way we can change our community,” she said. “It’s our responsibility.”

Griffin-Kimber said she hopes the honor will encourage young people to strive for any goals they have for themselves.

“My biggest hope is they take this is and understand there are no limits to what you can do in life,” she said.