This Wednesday, I had the honor of hosting city, business, and philanthropic leaders in a vibrant “official” kickoff celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Atlanta Public Schools! It was an evening of shared reflection on When APS began, Where we are today, and the many Wins recorded by our district on behalf of the generations of families we have and continue to serve.
Even as we were officially launching our year-long celebration of a milestone anniversary, there was an unmistakable atmosphere of partnership and commitment in the room. Clear that the legacy of APS is a jewel in Atlanta’s crown, our community recognized and committed to locking hands and hearts with us to ensure a stronger future.
As the very proud superintendent of APS, I was especially proud of our staff who led and organized yesterday’s event, not only because several among them are proud products of Atlanta Public Schools, but also because they are working tirelessly to help us ensure our schools and scholars stay on a pathway of growth and transformation.
APS partners are indeed buzz agents and ambassadors of our breakthrough work to close the gaps in academic achievement throughout APS, in a city like Atlanta which is percolating with such promise and far ahead in the expanding spaces of technology. As the Mayor noted in his remarks, Atlanta was just named the “best place to live” in Money Magazine’s annual list of the Best Places to Live in the U.S.
Our Board Chair Eshé Collins, former APS educator, raised a toast to our legacy and to our future. The Mayor of Atlanta, Andre Dickens, a proud alum of Mays High School, renewed his commitment to our work and made the groundbreaking announcement that 2023 would be his administration’s Year of the Youth! City Councilman Matt Westmoreland and Carl Hill, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Coca-Cola United, both proud APS alums, highlighted the impact of project APS with deep personal passion, while lifting their voices in support of moving forward. Friends, it was a spirited gathering through and through.
And now, let me share my favorite moment of the evening!
Leaders of the distinguished Kappa Boulé – Sigma Pi Phi – the oldest black fraternity in the nation, through their president, and yes another APS alum, Jeffrey Tompkins, shared that starting this year, they will award monetary scholarships to a member of the graduating class in every APS high school. EVERY APS high school! What a commitment!
I am incredibly grateful to our partners, donors, staff, and friends who joined us and are ready to support the breakthrough work of APS with their time, talent, and treasure.
We are on the road to achieving my vision of matching every single one of our schools with a long-term corporate partner, and to reaching our fundraising goal of $15 million this year and $30 million over the next three years, to invest in innovation, redesign, and continued transformation in our schools. These three things, innovation, redesign, and continued transformation are critical elements in our formula for breakthrough!
Together with our community, we are transforming the lives of APS scholars.
– Dr. Herring
Photo highlights from our 150th Anniversary Partnership Kickoff