Durham Middle School

Dr. Patricia Alford, Principal

Joshua Fowler, AP 6/7  | Shannon Thorpe, AP 7/8  | Kristina DeFrain, SSA

2891 Mars Hill Road
Acworth, Georgia 30101
Phone: (770) 975-6641
Fax: (770) 975-6643

Durham Middle School Administrative Team

Dr. Patricia Alford, Principal


It is my privilege to serve in my fifth year as the principal of Durham Middle School!  Durham has an outstanding reputation, which is the result of our focus on learning in a positive environment.  Our expectations for students are high, and you will not find a harder working, more compassionate and dedicated faculty than we have at Durham Middle School!  I feel so fortunate to serve in this community where I grew up!  I am a product of Cobb County, having graduated from North Cobb High School in 1995;  I also attended Awtrey Middle School and Lewis Elementary School.  I have eighteen years of middle school experience.  I began my teaching career at East Cobb Middle School as a reading, language arts, and gifted teacher and later taught at Dickerson Middle School, where I served as the gifted program coordinator. Before becoming the Principal of Durham, I served as an Assistant Administrator and Assistant Principal at Dickerson Middle for six years. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The University of Georgia in 1998, where I also played clarinet in the UGA Redcoat Marching Band. Go Dawgs! I hold a Master’s degree from Kennesaw State University, a Specialist degree from The University of West Georgia, and in 2011, I earned my Ph.D. in school administration and supervision from The University of Southern Mississippi. My husband and I have been married for nineteen years, and we have two boys who attend Cobb County Schools in the 10th and 6th grades.  Outside of work, I play a lot of tennis and enjoy supporting my kids in their activies and endeavors.   As partners in the education of our students, I welcome your input and your involvement. Fantastic things are happening at Durham, and it couldn't be done without your support. Let’s work together to make this an outstanding school year!

Shannon Thorpe, Assistant Principal


I'm thrilled to begin my third year as an Assistant Principal at Durham Middle School!  I am the 8th grade administrator and share half of the 7th grade as well.  I feel very fortunate to have spent my entire career with the Cobb County School District. I began as a reading and social studies teacher at McCleskey Middle School in 2001, then taught at East Cobb Middle School before opening Barber Middle School in 2005. While at Barber, I served in several capacities including teacher, reading coordinator, academic coach, and School Leadership Intern. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from the University of Illinois in 2001, and my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University in 2008. My husband and I have been married for eight years and have one son. I am looking forward to another outstanding year in the Durham community, and I encourage open communication in order to support your students.

Joshua Fowler, Assistant Principal

I am so excited to be entering my second year as an Assistant Principal at Durham Middle School!  This will be my 20th year in the education field.  I taught special education in Michigan for four years before moving to Cobb County in 2003.  I began in the Cobb County School District as a special education teacher at Palmer Middle School before transferring to Lost Mountain Middle School in 2006.  I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree from Saginaw Valley State University in 1999.  I received my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University in 2014.  I completed my Specialist's Degree in Educational Leadership from The University of West Georgia in December of 2017.  I have been married to my wife, Mary, for twelve years, and we have two daugters, ages 10 and 7.  In my spare time, I like to be active outdoors.  I love to camp, hike, fish, and play golf.  I am thrilled to work with the Durham community to ensure all of our students have a successful school year!

Kristina DeFrain, Support Services Administrator


I am excited to be serving as the Support Services 
Administrator at both Durham Middle School and Frey Elementary School. I grew up and attended elementary school in Cobb County at the school where my mother taught. After graduating from The University of Mobile with dual degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, I returned to Cobb County to begin my teaching career in 2003. In 2008, I graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Master’s in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Technology. This past year I completed my fifteenth year working for the Cobb County School District. Eleven years were spent in the classroom and the past four in administrative positions. I come to you from Acworth Elementary where I spent three years as the School Leadership Intern and one year as the Support Services Administrator. My drive and passion are in supporting students and teachers. I have been married to my husband, Matt, for seven years now and love living in Cobb County. In my free time I enjoy hiking, working out, and traveling. I look forward to creating and building positive relationships within the Durham community throughout the school year.