Ashli Reese, Administrative Manager in the Center for Equity + Social Justice at Atlanta Public Schools is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She is a proud alumnus of the Atlanta Public Schools System (J.C. Young Middle School, and B.E. Mays High School). As a first-generation college graduate, Ashli obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Ashli brings years of administrative experience having worked in both the private as well as the public sectors.
Ashli’s passion for student achievement developed while working in law enforcement. During her 8-year tenure at one of the largest Metro-Atlanta jails east of the Mississippi River, she served in numerous roles and capacities - garnering two promotions, numerous awards of achievement, and most importantly, the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of marginalized black and brown youth. Ashli’s position in the sheriff’s administration allowed her the opportunity to assist with various community engagement events as well as participate in jail tours for at-risk youth. While speaking with youths on the jail tours, Ashli recognized her desire for wanting to ensure the future success of all relegated children.
Born and raised on the southwest side of Atlanta, Georgia, Ashli believed that it was her duty to make an impact in the lives of the kids who looked like her, because she too, knew what it was like to be one of them. Her passion for education grew even more when she volunteered for the 2020 MLK Day of Service Project with a non-profit organization where she assisted in the beautification of an all-boys school in Fulton County. Ashli’s social justice lens was opened when she was a victim of racial injustices while in college at a predominantly white institution. Her call to action came in 2011 when she attended a rally in Butts County, Georgia to protest the lethal injection execution of an innocent black man at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison.
A firm believer of, “your gift will make room for you,” in January of 2021, Ashli joined Atlanta Public Schools. A culmination of lived experiences with racial inequities and social unrest, the role in the Center for Equity + Social Justice was an innate fit for Ashli. The work of equity in APS is vital to ensuring student success and positive outcomes. In the words of Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, “The tragedy of life is not found in failure but complacency. Not in you doing too much, but doing too little. Not in you living above your means, but below your capacity. It's not failure but aiming too low, that is life's greatest tragedy.”
Fun Fact: Ashli enjoys photography! Several of her photos have been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution as well as countless other local publications.