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History

Lillie E. Suder Elementary School was constructed in 1966 on Jodeco Road in Jonesboro, Georgia. The Clayton County Board of Education strove to address three educational problems: an inadequate number of qualified elementary teachers, no public kindergarten, and no clear-cut plan for desegregating the teaching staff. Suder Elementary met the challenges head-on and received national recognition in 1967 from the National Education Association. The school was recognized for "leading the way to better education" and was the only Georgia school to be awarded the Pacemaker Award that year. Suder's first teachers were "carefully selected" and demonstrated one attempt to approach  some of the problems surrounding the desegregation of public schools in the southeastern region. To focus on the needs of Clayton County's younger children, a program for children aged three to five was developed by Suder's first principal, Lacy Powell, in partnership with the University of Georgia. The Atlanta Journal reported in 1967 that 180 preschool children took part in a program that was "closely watched by the nation's educators to see if early and continuing stimulating of children will make any significant difference in the ability to learn in later years." The paper also reported that visitors came to the school from as far away as California to see the program. Suder Elementary has continued to educate Clayton County children in grades Pre-K through 5th grade.
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