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Vanderlyn Elementary

Dekalb County Schools


Principal - Tracey Crenshaw


Greetings Vikings,

Our theme for the 2023-2024 school year is “Diving Deep Into 3D Learning”. This year, as we continue to thrive and boast of our strong comeback after a major pandemic, we will have a 3D focus on education with an even greater emphasis on Literacy, Math, STEM, and Project-Based Learning. This 3-dimensional theme will be centered around the following: 1) Diverse Learners, 2) Differentiated Instruction, and 3) Deep Discovery. Through this 3-dimensional approach, we will take a deep dive into deep teaching and learning that will challenge the cliché that “Great Minds Think Alike”! Instead, this new 3D concept will promote a new way of thinking, “Great Minds Think Differently”!

What Are the 3D Concepts?

Diverse Learners: Students in our classrooms are more diverse across many categories, including linguistics, culture, geography and socioeconomics. They may have a disability or learning difference, are English learners, are gifted or talented, or some combination of the above, and research shows they need differentiated approaches to learning. We must build awareness, provide support, and establish a coherent framework to better serve our diverse learners.

Differentiation: Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, every student has an individual learning style. Not all of our students grasp a subject in the same way or share the same level of ability. Differentiated instruction is a process of teaching and learning for students of differing abilities within the same class. One size does not fit all! Therefore, research on the effectiveness of differentiation shows this method of teaching benefits a wide range of students, from those with learning disabilities to those who are considered high ability.

Deep Discovery: Deep teaching and learning is quality learning that sticks with you for the rest of your life. It is our belief that all students should receive a comprehensive education that includes a focus, not only on the important academic content areas of reading, writing, oral language, mathematics, science and social studies, but a curriculum that allows students to make real connections to the world around them, thus providing more authentic learning experiences. We will continue to motivate and engage students in 21st century learning skills that will promote a life-long curiosity about the world we live in. We know that helping students learn how to synthesize information, problem-solve, think critically and organize their materials are essential, lifelong skills. We look forward to sharing these learning experiences with you and there will be many opportunities throughout the year to celebrate your child’s progress.

Mrs. Tracey Crenshaw
Email Mrs. Crenshaw at [email protected]

Mr. Griffin Nichols

Hello Vanderlyn Vikings


My name is Griffin Nichols, and it is with great enthusiasm that I join the Vanderlyn Elementary School family! I am originally from Sarasota, Florida, but have lived in Georgia since I was 8 years old. I have two children. My son, Jackson, is in 5th grade and my daughter, Bella, is in 7th grade.
I am a graduate of Kennesaw State University and Piedmont College. I hold two Master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership and a Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I am also certified in Gifted Education and Special Education.
I have 19 years of experience in education. Thirteen of those years were spent as a classroom teacher. Most recently, I was at Dunwoody Elementary where I worked as the Instructional Support Specialist, MTSS Chair, and the Gifted Liaison. I look forward to making a positive impact by contributing to the continued growth and development of Vanderlyn Elementary students, support staff, and faculty.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends and traveling. I’m a huge fan of Florida State University and the Atlanta Falcons, Braves and Hawks.
If you can’t tell from this brief bio, I am truly honored and excited to be your new Vanderlyn Elementary Assistant Principal and look forward to your support and assistance as we work together in developing, educating, and providing the children of our community with the necessary tools to achieve their full potential as leaders of the future.