• Dr. Danielle S. Battle

    Interim Superintendent

    Interim Superintendent Dr. Danielle S. Battle has unabatedly championed student success in the field of education for more than 30 years. Her impactful career launched in the state of North Carolina where her foundation as an educator began as an elementary and middle grades teacher, assistant principal, and principal in Halifax and Wake County Schools. Although North Carolina etched her strong beginnings, it was the pivotal move to Atlanta, Georgia in 2002 and her work with Atlanta Public Schools that cemented her legacy as an educator. Dr. Battle’s tenure in APS began at Parkside Elementary where she served as principal. Situated in the Grant Park community, it was at Parkside where her reputation for modeling expectations for teachers and students on school-wide practices for creating a positive learning culture was born. After serving the Parkside Community for six years, Dr. Battle moved to the middle school feeder, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, as principal, where she continued making instructional strides and interacting with the educational community to build relationships with parents and business partners. She spent three years at King Middle School before being promoted to Associate Superintendent of Schools.

    Before retiring from public education, Dr. Battle's stellar reputation as an effective leader also landed her the opportunity to serve as Interim Chief of Schools in Atlanta Public Schools. After serving students and communities in APS for 19.5 years, Dr. Battle retired from K-12 education in 2021 with 31 years of service in making lives better for children. 

    One of the greatest badges of confidence was bestowed upon Dr. Battle when asked to take the helm of her beloved APS during a critical time of transition. In September of 2023, she began serving as Interim Superintendent. There is no greater service than service to others, and Dr. Battle repeatedly exemplifies this mantra through her life’s work, pledging to lead forward with CARE: Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Empathy.

    Read her full bio

    Erica Long

    Deputy Superintendent

    Erica Long serves Atlanta Public Schools as Deputy Superintendent. Since 2015, Erica has led our district's Policy & Government Affairs work with distinction. She advises our Board and Senior Leadership on the development of district policies, represents our district before other government agencies, and leads the work of preparing for our monthly Board meetings. As Deputy Superintendent, Erica works as a thought partner to the Superintendent as we prioritize the strategic work of APS across all district divisions. Erica supports the Superintendent in carrying out the governance vision of our Board of Education and coordinates the work of our Senior Cabinet.

    An Atlanta native and graduate of Frederick Douglass High School, Erica earned her Bachelor of Science in Political Science (summa cum laude) from Florida A&M University and her Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. Prior to coming to work for our school district, Erica practiced law at King & Spalding LLP, worked as Associate General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs for a Fortune 500 financial services firm, served as a Legislative Assistant in the White House (Clinton-Gore Administration) and worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Ms. Long and her husband, Ralph, are the proud parents of a student at Benjamin E. Mays High School.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Tommy Usher

    Chief of Schools

    An intuitive, well-rounded leader with over 20 years of experience in educational leadership, Mr. Tommy Usher serves as Chief of Schools at Atlanta Public Schools (APS). Mr. Usher became an Associate Superintendent at APS on July 1, 2016 and served in that role until March 2024. Previously, he served as Principal of Garden Hills Elementary School, an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program and Dual Language Immersion School. He joined Atlanta Public Schools in July 1998, serving in various roles as Classroom Teacher, Instructional Specialist, Comprehensive School Reform Specialist, Data Coach and Program Administrator. A proud native of Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Usher graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelors in Elementary Education. He went on to pursue graduate studies and leadership certification from Central Michigan University, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Design, and Georgia State University, Educational Leadership Certification. He has also participated in and completed the Harvard Turnaround Leader Institute, Harvard Data Wise Institute and KIPP’s Leadership Design Fellowship (KLDF) and most recently Relay/GSE Leverage Leadership Institute.

    While serving as an Associate Superintendent, Mr. Usher was laser focused on supporting and guiding the school improvement efforts of principals and their school teams. A few hallmark accomplishments of this work include expanding Dual Language Immersion Programs, schools achieving year-over-year achievement gains on state assessments and receiving several Gallup Engagement awards and recognitions. Mr. Usher is known as a warm demander, driven by his deep commitment of service to school leaders, and measurable improvements that impact the lives of students.

    Travis Norvell

    Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer

    Travis Norvell has served in strategy management and engagement roles with Atlanta Public Schools for more than ten years and is currently the Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer. The Office of Strategy & Engagement is a driving force, creating a culture of collaboration and engagement with internal and external stakeholders, while ensuring the values of the organization are in alignment with the established mission and vision.

    Prior to working for Atlanta Public Schools, Travis developed national strategies and policies at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and supported the Afghanistan and Colombia programs with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Travis received both his Bachelor of Science in Political Sciences and Music and a Master of Public Policy (Education Policy) at Vanderbilt University. Travis is an APS parent and lives in Lake Claire with his wife and three children.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Lisa Bracken

    Chief Financial Officer

    Lisa Bracken was named Chief Financial Officer of Atlanta Public Schools in September of 2017. As CFO, Lisa leads several key business functions including accounting, payroll, benefits & risk management, procurement & logistics, and budget. During her tenure, she led the district through the process of adopting a weighted student funding formula, positioning equity at the forefront of school allocations. She brings more than 16 years experience in public education budget and finance including her previous work in Fulton County School System.

    Lisa is an influential leader who serves on several financial committees and boards and was nominated for the Atlanta Business Chronicle CFO of The Year Award for 2018.

    As a subject matter expert, she has presented at numerous conferences across the country sharing her strategic initiatives to support growth and maximize benefit across several networks. Lisa has her bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. She’s currently in an Educational Leadership program at Georgia State University.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Yolonda Brown

    Chief Academic Officer

    As Chief Academic Officer (CAO) Ms. Yolonda Brown is responsible for setting the strategic vision and direction for the instructional framework and approach to Atlanta Public Schools’ academic programs and is a key lever to accomplish the district’s academic goals. In this role, Ms. Brown provides the strategic direction for the school district’s Teaching and Learning, Student Support Services and Instructional Technology Departments, as well as works to build authentic partnerships between district offices and schools to ensure closer alignment of district resources with school needs, to implement an instructional plan for the district.

    Ms. Brown brings a wealth of diverse professional experience to this position as well as over 25+ years of service which she uses in supporting the district’s mission and serving its students.

    Prior to being selected as the Chief Academic Officer for Atlanta Public Schools in November 2020, Yolonda held multiple leadership roles within APS including previously serving as a District Level Model Teacher Leader, Elementary School Principal (Founding Principal of Springdale Park Elementary School (SPARK) and Associate Superintendent of Schools.

    She earned a B.A. Degree in Elementary Education at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, a M.Ed. in Middle Grades Education, with a concentration in Science at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Leadership Certification at Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Nicole Lawson

    Chief Human Resources Officer

    As Chief Human Resources Officer, Mrs. Nicole Lawson is responsible for the recruitment, selection, staffing, compensation, development, performance management, and retention for over 6,000 employees across 70 urban schools in the capital city of Atlanta, Georgia. In that role, Mrs. Lawson provides the strategic direction for the departments of Employee Relations, Talent Management and Human Resource (HR) Services, as well as employee well-being.

    Nicole has over 21 years of experience in human resources management for K-12 public education. While previously serving as Executive Director of Talent Management for the district, Nicole consistently met our district talent targets including having less than ten vacancies at the start of the school year for seven (7) consecutive years. She has wealth of experience and knowledge in managing HR systems, processes, and leading high-performing teams. Nicole received Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management from Georgia Southern University and a Master of Business Administration in Human Resources Management from University of Phoenix.  She is also a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and a member of the inaugural cohort of the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy.

    As a third generation Atlantan, Nicole is a proud graduate of Atlanta Public Schools – D. M. Therrell High.  Growing up in Southwest Atlanta, she knows first-hand that quality educators can change the trajectory of students’ lives.  Nicole takes great pride in being a part of the APS community and as a daughter of a former APS educator and principal, she witnessed the countless hours and days of preparation our staff endure off the clock to bring forth impactful lessons to our students every day. Nicole’s passion for equipping and empowering all staff members is born in her belief that the students of Atlanta deserve no less than their absolute best effort each and every day.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Larry Hoskins

    Chief of Operations

    As Chief of Operations, Mr. Larry Hoskins is responsible for district support operations. In that role, Mr. Hoskins provides the strategic direction for the school district’s Student Transportation Services, Facilities Services, Capital Development and Construction, Nutrition Services, Safety and Security and Athletics.

    Mr. Hoskins brings a wealth of diverse professional experience to this position as well as 25+ years of expertise which he uses in supporting the district’s mission and serving its students.

    Prior to joining Atlanta Public Schools in 2009, Mr. Hoskins held multiple leadership roles including previously serving as the Deputy Superintendent of Operations, Columbus City Schools, Columbus, Ohio, and as the Chief of Business Operations, Dayton Public Schools, Dayton, Ohio.

    He earned a B.S. in Human Factors Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado and is a distinguished graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Matt Smith

    Chief Performance Officer

    As Chief Performance Officer, Dr. Matt Smith is responsible for the implementation of technology, the gathering, analysis, and oversight of student data and information, as well as the strategic development of systems of district innovation and continuous improvement. In that role, Dr. Smith provides the strategic direction for the school district’s departments of Data & Information, Information Technology, as well as the department of Innovation, Improvement, and Redesign.

    Dr. Smith brings a wealth of diverse professional experience to this position as well as 15 years of service which he uses in supporting the district’s mission and serving its students.

    Prior to joining Atlanta Public Schools in 2021, Dr. Smith held multiple leadership roles across several organizations including Clayton County (GA) Public Schools as K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Director, Assistant Principal, and Principal, Birmingham City Schools (Birmingham, AL) as Special Assistant to the Superintendent, and the A+ Education Partnership (Montgomery, AL) as Vice President of Policy.

    He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, an M.A.T. in Secondary Social Science at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA, an Ed.S in Education Leadership at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA, and an Ed.L.D. in Education Leadership from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Nina Gupta

    General Counsel

    As General Counsel, Ms. Nina Gupta is responsible for all legal affairs and serves as the chief legal advisor to the Board and Atlanta Public Schools. In that role, Ms. Gupta provides the strategic direction for the school district’s Office of General Counsel, as well as providing legal and strategic advice to help all divisions within Atlanta Public Schools achieve their mission and goals while remaining in legal compliance.

    Ms. Gupta brings a wealth of diverse professional experience to this position as well as over 20 years of expertise which she uses in supporting the district’s mission and serving its students.

    Prior to being appointed Atlanta Public Schools’ General Counsel in 2019, Ms. Gupta held multiple leadership roles, including previously serving as Deputy General Counsel to Atlanta Public Schools. She is a partner at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein and has been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in the field of education law by The Legal 500 and has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer.

    She earned a B.A., with Honors, in Psychology at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Dorna F. Werdelin

    Chief Communications Officer

    As Chief Communications Officer (CCO), Ms. Werdelin oversees the Office of Communications, and is responsible for developing and executing the communications and public relations strategy, specifically media relations, graphic design, District branding and reputation management, internal and external communications, and social media/content management.

    Dorna has 25+ years of experience in communications & public affairs, government & community relations, and workforce development. Prior to being selected as the CCO, Ms. Werdelin served as Vice President of communications, marketing and public relations at Atlanta Technical College where she elevated the College through awareness and promotion of its award-winning programs, faculty, staff, and students. Ms. Werdelin served in numerous leadership roles in the state of Georgia government, including Communications and Learning Officer with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services. She also served on the state’s inaugural Communications Governance Council for Georgia state purchasing as a legislative liaison. Ms. Werdelin was employed at Hess Oil Virgin Islands prior to her work in the state of Georgia, where, as the Deputy Information Officer and government liaison, she was responsible for community outreach programs and organizational training.

    Dorna began her career at Upscale Magazine shortly after graduating from Spelman College in Atlanta; then moved back to St. Croix, USVI, to serve as the Director of Training and Government Relations for a vocational training school that partnered with the USVI Department of Labor to provide employability skills and career services for displaced and dislocated workers. It is during this time that she developed a passion for serving the community’s most vulnerable citizens and promoting awareness of the contributions they made to society despite their socio-economic status. Ms. Werdelin currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Children’s Shelter. She earned an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Baker College of Graduate Studies and a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Management & Organization from Spelman College.

    Areas of Responsibility