• 2021 Equity Champions Cohort 1

    When demonstrating equity in action, our educators affirm and appreciate our students' diverse cultures, identities, talents, abilities, languages and interests. We especially applaud these 10 APS school leaders and teachers, our 2021 Equity Champions. They work hard each day to ensure every child receives the necessary opportunities and resources to meet their unique needs and aspirations!

    In early May 2021, we surprised each with a bouquet of balloons and a check for $1,500 to launch an equity-focused project or initiative at their school or in their classroom. Please read below to learn more about why they were Selected.

    Our full list of winners and their respective school names is outlined below.

  • APSTerukaTaylor

    Name: Teruko Dobashi Taylor
    Assistant Principal of Toomer Elementary School 


    Ms. Dobashi-Taylor believes classrooms must be cultivated to allow students' diversity to be honored and respected. She champions all students by helping them become critical thinkers who advocate for change.

  • APSUrsulaGordon

    Name: Ursula Gordon
    Math Teacher, South Atlanta High School


    As a math teacher, Ms. Gordon sees first-hand the effects that inequity can have on students. Her solution is to provide them with unique opportunities to participate in math competitions and gain international experience through International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.

  • APSBenitaGrantName: Benita Grant 
    Principal, Fickett Elementary School


    For Ms. Grant, equity comes down to economics. Her stance is that every student, no matter their socioeconomic background, is capable of excelling when they are adequately supported and given equitable access to resources.

  • APSLarryGuilfordName: Larry Guilford
    Assistant Principal, B.E.S.T. Academy


    Mr. Guilford is passionate and intentional about eliminating any obstacles that stand in the way of a student's success. He works to create an equal playing field by leveraging partnership with local organizations and implementing programs that cater to each student's needs.

  • APSShironJelksName: Shiron Jelks
    Teacher, Cascade Elementary School


    Ms. Jelks goes the extra mile by making sure her students feel loved and letting them know that their input is valued. Many of her students lack access to school supplies so she creates and maintains community resources to help students have the tools they need to succeed.


  • APSMarshaLeveretteName: Marsha Leverette
    Special Education Lead Teacher at Herman J. Russell West End Academy


    While Ms. Leverette believes all students deserve a level playing field, she knows the path to achieving that looks different for every student. That's why she works to advocate for the unique, individual needs of each and every child.


  • Kevin MaxwellName: Dr. Kevin Maxwell
    Former Principal, David T. Howard Middle School
    Assistant Superintendent


    Dr. Maxwell believes that equity empowers students to live lives abundant with possibilities, especially after they graduate. By engaging in equity awareness dialogue and exercises, he and his team are able to produce more equitable outcomes and opportunities for all students. Although he received a promotion within the district after being named an Equity Champion, his stipend is still designated to David T. Howard Middle School to be used for equity initiatives. 


  • D’Andra McPhailName: D’Andra McPhail
    AP English and American American Literature Teacher, North Atlanta High School


    Mr. McPhail is passionate about all students having opportunities and resources for success. He teaches about race and identity through literature, ensuring the curriculum is as diverse as possible. 

  • Dione SimonName: Dione Simon
    Principal, Harper-Archer Elementary School


    Principal Simon believes all students should be positioned to thrive, regardless of where they start. She serves as an advocate by ensuring every student, regardless of ability, has a dedicated educator in front of them every day.

  • Victoria WeaverName: Victoria Weaver
    Science Teacher at King Middle


    Throughout her almost 30-year teaching career, Ms. Weaver's top priority has been to provide all students with a superior education. Her main goal each day is to set all of her students up for success, with a special focus on those who are underserved.