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Cumming Elementary’s Jordan Livermore continues legacy of relationships and support
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Jordan Livermore took over as principal of Cumming Elementary School this year when former principal Lee Anne Rice was promoted the county’s Director of Assessment and Accountability. Livermore said he is going to focus on strengthening his relationships within the community. - photo by Ben Hendren

When new Cumming Elementary School Principal Jordan Livermore first came to Georgia from Knoxville, Tenn., in 2004 to work for the Forsyth County school system, he found his passion working with special needs students and helping them become successful, no matter what their needs might be.

And over the last 15 years as Livermore worked his way through teaching, support and administration roles in the county, he says he has felt that sphere of influence growing wider and wider, not just affecting one student or one classroom of students, but whole schools of young learners.  

"That [special education] perspective is that you go into different classes, you work with different teachers, you kind of see the school as a whole and aren't really isolated into your one classroom," Livermore said on Wednesday. "That’s what drew me to administration, just seeing how much of an impact we can make and influence we can have, not in one spot but across the whole school." 

After serving for three years as one of Cumming Elementary’s assistant principals, Livermore took the helm of the school this year when former principal Lee Ann Rice was promoted to the county’s Director of Assessment and Accountability.

On Friday, Rice said that leaving Cumming Elementary was one of the hardest decisions she has ever had to make, but knowing Livermore was taking over made it much easier for everyone.

“Cumming [Elementary] is an amazing school filled with excited students, dedicated staff and supportive parents,” Rice said. “I did not want to leave unless I knew the person coming in behind me loved [the school] as much as I do.”

With the relationships and support they have built together at Cumming Elementary and in the local community, Livermore said that the new school year is already off to a phenomenal start.

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- photo by Ben Hendren

“It gives me such an advantage to know the staff, know the leadership team, know who to trust, who my go-to people are,” he said. “I think the culture and the climate has been really electrifying so far; we have a lot of good, good energy.”

Livermore said he is going to focus heavily on strengthening his relationships within the community, whether that is a teacher he didn’t get to spend time with during his tenure as assistant principal or members of the local community that they hope to involve in the school’s day-to-day operations.

By forming those relationships, he hopes to calibrate initiatives like the Dual Language Immersion program and the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, which were started under past administrators, and help continue their reported success.

"I want to really listen to the staff about what they have liked the last couple of years that we've done, what has worked well, what has not worked well, what can we tweak and continue to move forward," he said. "And we are a school with a lot of needs, but we have a community that is really wanting to help us and is eager to help us. We just need to make sure we do a good job communicating what our needs are and how different community leaders and members can come in and support us.”

The second, more long-term focus Livermore said he wants to tackle is to continue the upward trend of literacy and reading skills of their students.

Livermore said that many of their students still read below their grade level, which can have lasting impacts on a student if not tackled early.

Programs like the county’s American Reading Company (ARC) curriculum, which works with students from kindergarten through third-grade, are their best tool in solving those problems before they begin, he said.

"It's made a dramatic difference," he said. “So our No. 1 priority there is to get kids caught up and reading, and give kids a joy for reading. If we can do that, I think a lot of the other academic areas will take care of themselves.”