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Mrs. Drake's Classroom

Kristen L. Drake

Mrs. Drake graduated from Saint Leo College, now Saint Leo University, in Florida.   She received a full tuition Trustees Academic Scholarship from the college.   Kristen also earned the Florida Academic Scholarship and the “Chappie” James Most Promising Teacher Scholarship from the Florida Department of Education.   While at St. Leo, she was recognized with the John I. Leonard General Excellence Award for Character, Scholarship, Service, and Leadership and the Rebecca L. Buller Award for Leadership, Service, Commitment, and Integrity.   She presented a thesis on multiple intelligences at the Florida Council on Elementary Education in April 1997.  


Professional development includes Orton-Gillingham training, which emphasizes a multi-sensory approach to teaching reading, spelling, and written expression. Talents Unlimited, a program designed to foster creative thinking, was also a part of her professional development.   She worked with Arts Connect to integrate fine arts into classroom teaching.   Kristen also has over sixty hours of training to teach English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL.   In 2003 she developed and defended an electronic portfolio illustrating the application of technology in the classroom.   During the summer of 2003, Mrs. Drake attended Leadership: An Evolving Vision at Harvard University’s Principals’ Center.   She also served as a consultant for the Georgia Department of Education's Georgia Learning Connections where she wrote lesson plans and identified web resources for the state’s Quality Core Curriculum, or QCC. During the 2004-2005 school year, Mrs. Drake participated in Effective Instruction for Elementary Struggling Readers: Research-Based Practices, a course designed to meet the needs of low-performing students and those with special needs. She received Level 1 training for the International Baccalaureate Programme and is a gifted-certified teacher.  Recent professional development includes autism, English Language Learners (ELLs), interactive whiteboards, adult learning theory, and Common Core State Standards.  


In January 2006, Kristen was recognized by the Dogwood Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children with the Charlie Lovern Human Spirit Award. She was nominated by her respected team teacher, Nancy Lorenz.


On October 9, 2006, Kristen Drake was recognized at her school with the national Milken Educator Award for Excellence. On January 11, 2007, Kristen received further recognition by the Georgia Department of Education. Mrs. Drake was also recognized in April 2007 at the Milken Educator Conference in Los Angeles, California, with the formal awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton. To learn more about the Milken Family Foundation, please visit


During the 2007-2008 school year, Mrs. Drake served on Superintendent Kathy Cox's Teacher Advisory Council.


Kristen was a member of DeKalb's Gifted Teacher Cadre, where she revised unit plans for gifted instruction in the county.


Mrs. Drake served as a judge for DeKalb County's Technology Fair from 2007 until 2012. She presented about the worksheetless classroom ®™ at the 2009 and 2010 events.


Kristen received four grants with inclusion teacher, Nancy Lorenz. During the 2004-2005 academic year, they received a grant from the Junior League of DeKalb County to purchase games for students to play at home. During the 2005-2006 year, the pair earned a grant entitled "You Read to Me, I'll Read to You," which allocated money for the purchase of books for paired reading.  During the 2007-08 school year, Drake and Lorenz received news that the grant proposal for "PlayStation" received partial funding for new games. In 2008-09, the team received another grant from the Junior League of DeKalb County for software for the interactive whiteboard. 


Mrs. Drake received two other grants while at Vanderlyn Elementary.  In January 2009, Target granted funds for a field trip to DeKalb's Seminole Landfill for the entire third grade.  For the 2009-2010 academic year, a grant was awarded from Sylvan Dell for eBooks.  The grant was a site license for the school for over 40 eBooks.

During the 2010-2011 academic year, Mrs. Drake was co-recipient of a science grant which was written by Rachel Fiore and titled "The Real World: Second Grade Science."  The Dart Container Corporation awarded five DeKalb teachers with two digital cameras and a digital microscope to enhance science and literacy instruction.  Students recorded science experiments, adding narration and captions to demonstrate understanding. The children utilized both Windows Movie Maker and PhotoStory3 to create summaries of experiements. You may read more about the grant at

In November of 2010, Shenika Price and Kristen Drake received a Junior League grant titled "Homework Hero."  Flashcards and and sand timers were purchased for every second grade student at Hightower Elementary.  Students practiced the flashcards until they successfully complete 20 cards in one minute.

Kristen Drake and Nancy Lorenz have been leaders in collaboration.  For five years, the pair co-taught in an inclusive classroom.  They teach in small groups all day, effectively implementing station teaching.  100% of their language arts students passed the third-grade reading portion of the state's Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), a pass/fail assessment in Georgia.   They led professional development at several DeKalb County Public Schools including Woodward, Hawthorne, Vanderlyn, Oak Grove, Briarlake, and Brockett.


Kristen is very excited about her worksheetless classroom®™. It was used as a case study for DeKalb County's Going Green program . Additionally, the initiative has been recognized by the Georgia Partnership for  Excellence in Education, or GPEE, for best practices in education. DeKalb County School System featured Drake's worksheetless classroom in a video .


In June 2009, Kristen Drake was a guest of Harry Wong, author of First Days of School, at the Model Schools Conference.  Drake's CD's on small group instruction and the worksheetless classroom were featured in Dr. Wong's presentation.


In October 2009, Drake traveled around the state to visit six of Georgia's finest public schools with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.  It inspired her to transfer to a new school. 


In late January 2010, Drake explained how technology can impact literacy at a conference sponsored by the Georgia Reading Association.  She also described her classroom for DeKalb's Environmental Council and a class for teachers applying for gifted certification.

Drake was also a member of the first A-Team cohort, where 20 DeKalb County teachers used ActivInspire to improve instruction, practice, and assessment. 

Mrs. Drake was also a finalist to participate in an NBC panel on Education called Education Nation

Mrs. Drake presented at Microsoft's Innovative Education Forum (IEF) in July of 2011. Managed by Microsoft Partners in Learning, the Innovative Education Forum celebrates the achivements of innovative K-12 teachers and school leaders improving education by creatively implementing technology in the curriculum.
You may view the press release at . She described
 her worksheetless classroom at the event.

Mrs. Drake was recognized by WXIA 11 Alive as a Class Act teacher. She also received a proclamation from the City of Doraville presented by Mayor Donna Pittman. Writer Linda Rodgers also acknowledged Drake's work in the November issue of Parenting School Years magazine which can be found at

Drake received three grants in the 2011-2012 school year. From the Junior League of DeKalb County, Lorenz and Drake received pedal exercisers for two classrooms. Kinesthetic learners enjoy movement while working. Drake also earned two grants from the Rotary Club of Dunwoody. She purchased talking dictionaries to improve students' spelling, reading, and vocabulary. She also purchased a pen that students use to scan and listen to unknown words when reading.

Kristen received the College of Education Department Award for the 2014-2015 year at the University of West Georgia for Outstanding Graduate Student in the Early Childhood Education Program. She graduated in December 2014.

This is Mrs. Drake's twentieth year in education. She taught in both public and private schools.  Kristen is currently an Instructional Coach for Accelerated Programs and Gifted Education in Gwinnett County Public Schools. She leads professional development for teachers on such topics as differentiation, rigor, technology, and project-based learning. She is also available to teach model lessons in classrooms, placing emphasis on small group instruction. Kristen also works with the QUEST Gifted Internship where she places about 150 students across the district in internships in fields of their interest. Medical, law, engineering, marketing, technology, accounting, and education are a few examples. She is always looking for mentors in the community who would be interested in an unpaid intern.

Should you need to contact Kristen regarding professional development or the internship, please email
. Thank you. You may reach her by phone at 678-301-7042.


This site is a hobby of Kristen's and is updated during the summers. Should you find inappropriate content or errors on this site, please email . If you find links that would be appropriate additions to the site, please email the links. Please be patient as she updates the site. Thank you.

Mrs. Drake loves to hear from former students. She taught at Saint Joseph School in Marietta, Norcross Elementary, Donnellan School/Holy Spirit Preparatory, Vanderlyn Elementary, and Hightower Elementary. Students are asked to contact her via email at