Atlanta Public Schools Welcomes Four New Principals

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) welcomes four new principals for the 2020-2021 school year. Collectively, the group has more than 50 years of academic and administrative experience.

Through a caring culture of equity, trust, and collaboration, every student will graduate ready for college, career and life. This APS mission is strengthened through the recruitment, development and retention of school leaders who foster educational excellence.

APS has built a strong internal pipeline with an emphasis in school leadership development. Three of the 2020-2021 newly appointed principals were hired internally, and all four principals have had some experience working at Atlanta Public Schools.

Here is a closer look at APS’ four new principals:

Monica Blasingame is the new principal of Sylvan Hills Middle School. Principal Blasingame brings more than 15 years of experience at the middle school level in improving organization and academic outcomes.  Since 2016, she has served as the assistant principal of Sylvan Hills Middle School, where she was recognized as an exemplary leader who supported school-wide vision and took an active role in investing and mobilizing teachers to achieve the collective goals of the school, including oversight of the school-wide comprehensive data system. This school-wide initiative included implementing and managing a data system to set goals, track progress, identify academic gaps, and drive actionable change which resulted in an increase of proficiency in math by 10.9 percentage points from 2018-2019 school year (highest math gains in APS) and an increase of 4.6 percentage points in proficiency in English Language Arts. Prior to serving in leadership roles, Principal Blasingame was a special education teacher in Clayton County and at Price and Sylvan middle schools in APS. 

Ramon Garner is the new principal of John Lewis Invictus Academy. Since 2014, Principal Garner has served as assistant principal of Benjamin Banneker High School in Fulton County. Under his leadership, the school’s ninth-grade academy garnered 83 percent of first-time ninth graders earning sufficient credits to be promoted to tenth grade. He also supervised and evaluated the inaugural AVID program, resulting in 100 percent of participating students being on track to graduate. From 2011-2014, he served as implementation specialist at Forrest Hill Academy, where he helped increase CRCT scores. Principal Garner has also served as Summer Academy site administrator at Brown Middle School (2012) and Washington High School (2013), instructional coach at Forrest Hill Academy (2009-2011), and a teacher at B.E.S.T. Academy (2005-2009).

Artesza Portee is the new principal of Frederick Douglass High School. A tenured leader, Principal Portee joined Atlanta Public Schools in 1999 as a teacher at Price Middle School. Within three short years, in 2002, he was promoted to the school’s assistant principal. In 2010, he served as the academy leader at Benjamin E. Mays High School, where he wrote the design for a school within a school, Business & Entrepreneurship. Since 2011, Portee had the honor of serving as principal at Sylvan Hills Middle School. It was with his beloved Golden Bears that he learned and experienced the highs and lows of educational leadership. During his tenure at Sylvan, the school achieved the most significant CCRPI gains going from 52 to 70. Principal Portee has received numerous awards, including the Principal Capacity Award for Culture Managing Operations and the 2018-2019 Go Team Excellence in Leadership Award.

Christina Rogers is the new principal of Carver Early College. Since 2017, Principal Rogers has served as assistant principal of D.M. Therrell High School, where she implemented systems to increase graduation rates from 79% (2017) to 87% (2019),facilitated site-based leadership teams and established processes to increase the CCRPI score from 61.6% (2018) to 64.3% (2019),and created data systems and processes to increase scholars’ scoring at the proficiency and distinguished levels on the ninth-grade English Language Arts (ELA), biology, algebra and geometry Georgia Milestones End of Course Assessments. From 2013-2017, she was an instructional coach at Carver, where she once taught and chaired the ELA Department.

APS charter and partner schools also welcomed new leadership: Upper School Principal Josh Andrew at Atlanta Classical Academy; Principal Shaun Heckstall at Centennial Academy; Principal Tiambi Walker at Kindezi Gideons; Principal Jondre’ Pryor at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate; Principal Omy Mair at KIPP Strive Primary; Principal; Amy Bryson at KIPP Soul Academy (new school); and Principal Donald Rucker at KIPP Vision Academy.

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