By Michaela Kron

Sandy Springs will have a new elementary school when children return to class Aug. 11.

Lake Forest Elementary School will have approximately 600 pupils in its first year, relieving crowding at Heards Ferry and High Point. Those children will be in the charge of an administrator experienced at working with minority families, Principal Dara Wilson.

“I think that this school is an opportunity to do something great,” Wilson said. “I think that there are parents and community members who are concerned about what the achievement level of the students here will be because the population will be predominantly Hispanic. But for me and I think for my staff, we see it as an opportunity to show how the students can achieve, an opportunity to show that the parents are involved and are active participants in their kids’ education.”

Wilson spent 14 years working in south Fulton County in an urban environment.

“I loved that,” she said. “I think that was a place where I felt like what I did during the day made a difference.”

Wilson opened Hapeville Elementary School as a teacher and was the school’s principal from 1996 to 2001. In 2001 she opened Hillside Elementary in Roswell, where she spent seven years before becoming the principal of Lake Forest.

“When I heard this school was opening, that was of interest to me just because I feel like a strength of mine is coming in and preparing to get a school open,” she said. “But I think the bigger draw was the population and my commitment to make a difference.”