Main Office: 678.676.7102 - 4576 N. Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody, GA 30338

Kindergarten Round Up for Rising Kindergarten Students is May 5th!

Chesnut Elementary School will host Kindergarten Round Up on Thursday May 5thkindergarten-roundup. Kindergarten Round Up provides a chance for rising kindergarten students to meet the teachers and experience Chesnut for the first time. For parents, there will be a panel discussion with current parents ready to talk about the school and the kindergarten experience, as well as to answer questions. Sign in is at 8:15 a.m. and the program will begin promptly at 8:30 AM, ending approximately at 10 a.m. To RSVP, please contact Tamika Pichardo or Marie Warren at

Thank you!  We’re looking forward to meeting your children!

PTC Board Candidates

Below are the candidates that have shown interest in joining the PTC Board for the 2016-2018 school years.  You will receive a Survey Monkey Ballot.  Please be sure to vote when you receive the ballot.   Any questions, please contact

Gee Gilliard – I am the proud mother of a thriving Kindergartener. My son is Edward and I am affectionately known as “G”. We hail from Chicago and this is our first year at Chesnut Charter. After frequently attending the PTC meetings, I felt inspired to make my participation official and run for a PTC Board position. I believe I have much to offer to this organization if selected. My dossier includes former college Director of Academic Services and English instructor, Extensive Customer Service experience in retail and corporate enterprises, IT and Communications Specialist, Fitness Instructor, Talent Coordinator for numerous production shows (to include children’s shows), and volunteer for several non-profit organizations to name a few. Most importantly, I am a “get-it-done” kind of person. I am known to fight tirelessly and aggressively (like a cougar) for a just cause.  I count it a privilege to represent, serve and protect them. The PTC is about working together to make Chesnut better for our children/Cougar cubs. Sounds like a just cause to me. So vote to put this big Cougar…”Mama Cougar” that is…on the Board. Thank you for your support.

Hillary Levy –  I have two children at Chesnut. Allison is currently in 4th grade, and Suzanne is in kindergarten. Originally from Dallas, Texas, I graduated from the University of Georgia and have been living in Atlanta since 1999.  Since 2011, I have coordinated Chesnut’s Pastries for Parents community-building event, and I have also been involved in other volunteer activities over the past five years.  I am also involved in many other community activities.

After 20 years working in the insurance industry, I recently made the decision to stay at home with my children.  I see no better time than this one — when both my children are still at Chesnut and with five more years ahead of us at our wonderful school — to take an even more increased role in my involvement and run for the PTC Board.

Julianne Oblas – I am the mother of a current Chesnut 1st grader, Bradyn, and have a daughter, Leila, who will enter Chesnut in 2018.  I am a marketing consultant who has worked with some of our largest corporations in Atlanta (The Coca-Cola Company and Turner Broadcasting System), and I specialize in reaching consumers in unique ways.  I have been extremely active in the 2015-2016 school year at Chesnut where I assumed a vacated PTC alternate seat.  I have also taught Junior Achievement for my son’s 1st grade class and regularly volunteer for AR testing and other class needs.  It is my belief that Chesnut is a school that is thriving due to the commitment by the administration, faculty and parents to provide our children with the best in and out of classroom experiences possible.  I would like to be able to use my marketing skills to continue to support current initiatives, facilitate innovative solutions where there are gaps, and encourage more parents to get involved and share their talents with our children.

Chris Sparks –  I have 2 children that attend Chesnut.  Brayden is in second grade, and Nicholas is in Pre-K.  I am the Cubmaster for the Cubscout Pack 477 which represents Chesnut.  I am very active in participating with the schools’ needs.  I recently completed the Junior Achievement for Mrs. Lapointe’s second grade class, and I volunteer every chance I am available for the children.

I was born and raised in Atlanta.  I grew up in the Lilburn area and attended Brookwood High School in Snellville. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Economics.  I have worked as an Independent Insurance agent for the last 15 years.  I am an experienced and accomplished professional skilled in account management, sales and service.  Recognized for my ability to work independently and with a team. I would like to run for the Chesnut PTC, as we need more volunteers to step up for the parents leaving their roles.  I feel it is important to have such great volunteerism at our school not only from the parents, but our wonderful teachers.  Let’s remember we are doing this for our children and their futures.

Jessica Falk-Spencer –  I have three children at Chesnut. Maxine is in fifth grade, Jackson is in second grade and Molly is in kindergarten. I am a pre-K teacher at Kingswood United Methodist Church in Dunwoody and I help lead two Girl Scout troops. I have also acted as parent sponsor on the Science Olympiad team, served as a room parent, and volunteered in many different ways during my years at Chesnut.

My family moved to Dunwoody from Raleigh, North Carolina in 2011. I graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in English and I am passionate about education. In my professional life I have been a preschool teacher, a retail manager and an account representative at IBM.  My other interests are in art, music, reading, cooking and hiking.  I would like to run for the Chesnut PTC to help support our amazing staff and council.  I feel fortunate to live in this community and call Chesnut my neighborhood school. Thank you for considering me!

Pre-K Lottery Information

DCS_logoChesnut Pre-K lottery is on May 10, 2016. Registration will be held from 8:30AM to 1:00PM. The drawing will take place at 1:15. Your child must be zoned for Chesnut and must be 4 years old on or before September 1, 2016.

If you would like more information please click on the following link:

You are also welcome to contact Ms. Toni Clark in our main office at 678.676.7102 with any further questions.

Prospective Parents Night

On Thursday, January 21st at 7PM, Chesnut will be hosting a Prospective Parents Night.

parent nightThis information night is a great chance to hear about Chesnut, meet our principal, and to ask questions. Families with rising pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and upper-grade transfer students, are welcome to attend.

No reservation required.  Please contact Tamika Pichardo at with any questions. Please note this is intended as an adults-only event.

Interested parents can also schedule a tour of Chesnut. Click here to find out how!

Schoolwide 4th Annual Farm to School Nutrition Lesson A Tasty Success!

Earlier this month during P.E. classes, Coach Dykema welcomed Wellness Team parents Jo Chin and Angela Renals to co-teach Chesnut’s fourth annual Farm to School nutrition lesson: “Tasting a Rainbow of Plants.”

All Chesnut classes participated in the lesson, which included a review of how whole foods help our bodies, a mock trip to the market, plant part identification challenge and food to schoola “mini rainbow cup” tasting. The health lesson was designed to incorporate national K-5 health standards with Chesnut’s focus on knowing where our food comes from, while reinforcing science standards such as plant life cycles.

Wellness Team health hero “Super Kid,” who is often spotted in Chesnut’s cafeteria, reappeared in the presentation to remind the children that a regular diet of many-colored whole (unchanged) foods gives our bodies the most super powers that include brain function, immunity, lasting energy and a strong body. To practice this, all the children had a turn grocery shopping, tasked with creating their own rainbow of plants in their shopping baskets. After choosing from popular and less familiar fruits and vegetables arranged in a rainbow on our market table, each group of shoppers then had to match their produce to their plant part poster.

Several students were surprised to find that all the market produce was real, and that such a variety exists, while many of the classes exploded into encouragements for their fellow shoppers, “Get something green!” “Grab the mango!” “We already have something yellow!”

Once the excitement of the market game had died down, each child received his or her own mini rainbow in a cup:  garbanzo bean, pummelo, purple cabbage, lime and pomegranate. During the tasting adventure, the class again identified each item as a plant part, and the children correctly answered questions such as whether purple and green cabbage have the same nutrients (not exactly), and how one knows that (because they are different colors); and why one would choose to eat the skin of a fruit or vegetable when possible (because the color is where the most nutrition is).

By a show of hands at the lesson’s close, roughly 60 to 75 percent of the students had tried a new food during the lesson, and almost all students had tried something they enjoyed. Favorites varied by class, but didn’t always fall to a fruit, some classes preferring the garbanzo bean or purple cabbage.

Coach Dykema supports this creative approach to the health curriculum. He remarked, “This is our fourth year presenting the Farm to School lesson. Introducing students to healthy foods that may be unfamiliar to them and allowing them to interact with whole foods by holding, smelling, tasting and asking questions never gets old.”

Chesnut’s Fourth Graders Meet STEM Hero and World Record Holder!

captain barringtonToday, Chesnut’s fourth graders were among a select group of students from eight DeKalb county schools (and the only elementary students in the Dunwoody cluster) to meet the inspirational pilot and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educator, Barrington Irving, as he landed his helicopter on the Dunwoody High School football field and disembarked with Superintendent Stephen Green.

At Chesnut, each of our grade levels has a STEM capstone – or area of concentration. For the 2015-16 school year, our fourth grade capstone will be The Flying Classroom, an interactive STEM learning adventure curriculum that is aligned to the National Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. In 2007, at the age of 23, Barrington Irving became the youngest person and the first black pilot to fly solo around the globe. On his 97-day journey, he flew 30,000 miles in a single-engine plane. He subsequently launched the Flying Classroom, and is traveling the continents and bringing his adventures to students via videos and blogs.

stem expoSince launching the Flying Classroom last year, his expeditions have ranged from learning how to build sustainable cities in Shanghai to diving expeditions to see the condition of coral reefs in Bali. There are no limits to the exciing adventures and challenges our fourth graders will experience in the Flying Classroom! How exciting for them to be able to meet  Barrington Irving in person to hear about his expeditions and what inspired him to be involved in STEM!

Also in conjunction with today’s adventure, the students attended a STEM Expo, where they worked on mini-STEM activities ranging from 3-D holograms to robotics and storyboarding, and, during a “lunch and learn” they used the engineering design process to create straw rockets.

Group of Chesnut First Graders Kick Off New School Year With Hands-On Science Lesson on Composting, Planting and Harvesting


Led by parent volunteer Carissa Malone, with first grade teachers Ms. Radford and Ms. Skoog (a School Master Gardener), Chesnut students recently spent time in Chesnut Garden experiencing a hands-on science lesson on composting, planting and harvesting.

radford pumpkinThe students learned it’s never too early to get excited for the fall, as they harvested pumpkins, which they discovered had grown out of the compost into which somebody had thrown a rotten pumpkin last year. They also observed the sweet potato beds that many of them planted their last week of kindergarten. The sweet potatoes will be ready to harvest at the end of October, at which time they will return to Chesnut Garden to do the harvest. Finally, the students also were taught – through example – how lettuce goes to seed when it’s dying. The classes were given the flowering stock of the lettuce plant so that they could pick the seeds out of it and bring them back to Chesnut Garden to plant! More standards-based gardening lessons are in Chesnut students’ future, as Chesnut teachers will soon attend the Project Learning Garden workshop to kick off the school’s three-year collaboration with Captain Planet Foundation

As Featured in the AJC and The Dunwoody Crier – August 2015