NORCROSS, Ga. – June 7, 2023
This article was also featured in the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) is proud to announce that Dr. Crystal Downs has been honored with the prestigious Society of Excellence Award from Johns Hopkins University. Downs received her Ed.D. in Mind, Brain, and Teaching from Johns Hopkins.
The award “recognizes a graduating candidate in each program who has shown academic excellence, leadership, collaboration with peers, and superior competency in an internship.”
Downs embodies the qualities and aspirations that Johns Hopkins seeks in its doctoral students and graduates.
As a scholar-practitioner, Downs' research knowledge is put into practice as a GAC school leader. Throughout her doctoral studies and research, she uncovered that teachers nationwide lacked confidence in implementing culturally responsive teaching strategies. She shared these findings and has mobilized a community of professional educators eager to support all learners. At GAC, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Her contributions have profoundly impacted GAC and other independent schools, including Ethos School, GAC's online school.
This next school year, Downs will lead in a new way as our Ethos Academic Dean while continuing her leadership as one of our Instructional Lead Teachers, training GAC teachers with the most recent research-based learning.
Downs has served as the GAC High School Academic Dean for the past six years and will step into the role of Ethos Academic Dean this fall.
"In her new role, students and faculty will come to love and appreciate Downs for her kind spirit and eagerness to continue the excellent work of Ethos," Dr. Betty Morris, GAC Director of Academics and Teacher Growth said. "Downs will be instrumental in expanding course offerings and teacher training, and creating and implementing Professional Development for Ethos teachers as well as in other schools that partner with Ethos."
Ethos School (Ethos) was established by Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) in 2017. Ethos School was founded to cultivate an engaging, relational, and high-quality online learning experience for faith-based schools and homeschool families within a faith-filled context. Ethos now serves nearly 600 students from across the globe with over 100 courses available for grades 4-12. The faculty of Ethos School believe that a student’s engagement with their teacher and peers is key for sound learning. Ethos courses are designed using the most current technology to ensure a virtual environment filled with rich, inquisitive dialogue. In addition, 100% of Ethos faculty have or are pursuing a graduate degree, and Ethos teachers currently maintain an 80% AP test pass rate, compared to 60% nationally.
We're pleased that Downs will lead in the growth of Ethos as we continue to provide the best faith-infused academics in the Christian education market.
Downs joined GAC in 2015 as an Academic Support Teacher and then a K12 Learning Advocate. She expressed that what initially caught her attention was “the authentic presentation of Christian perspective as well as the diversity in the student body.” Her love of learning and the desire to help others learn has blessed GAC students of all levels.