Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

At OLA, Flowers Honor Retired Principal

Published September 6, 2007

A flowering garden of roses, lilies, along with a red Chinese maple and statue of St. Mary adds beauty and serenity to an area outside the pre-K classroom at Our Lady of the Assumption School.

It is a fitting tribute to Dr. Joan Tiernan who served the students and school staff for a long time as a teacher and principal.

Tiernan, who is an avid gardener in her own right, made such an impression on the school community that two years after retiring, she was invited back for the dedication of the garden that is named in her honor.

School principal Anita Nagel said Tiernan has a special gift in helping youngsters.

“Joan was truly a role model for each of us in education. She loved learning, and she loved children. It is an honor to dedicate this garden to her memory so that she will always be remembered for her gifts to OLA,” she said.

Tiernan was the guest of honor at the spring event where former students, staff, and parishioners surrounded the beloved educator. She worked in the school from 1978 to 2005.

Father James Duffy, the pastor at OLA Church, said the garden is a small token of appreciation to Tiernan that shows God’s artistic eye.

“Today we gather to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Joan Tiernan, dedicated educator, wife, mother and friend. She has touched so many of us in her service to Our Lady of the Assumption School. It is our pleasure to be able to give something back. Know that it is given with love and gratitude for your time and talents,” he said.

The friendship garden was created by many hands. Plants were lovingly cared for by parents, faculty and parishioners. The maple tree was planted several years ago by Dan Noyd, a former student as part of his Eagle Scout project. A wooden bench given by the parish’s OLA Girl Scout troops is a comfortable seat for folks to enjoy the garden’s beauty. A bronze plaque with a quote from Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory also sits in the garden.


For those who would like to visit the Dr. Joan Tiernan Garden, Our Lady of the Assumption School and Church is located in Brookhaven at 1320 Hearst Drive, NE. The Web site is