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Updates from Mr. Harness

Hello New Midtown Cluster Elementary Families,

I hope you all are doing well and that you are looking forward to the weekend as much as I am. 

First, I cannot express to you all how excited I am about my role as principal of the new elementary school in the Midtown Cluster.  I am confident that we will be 100% ready to go by the start of the new school year in August and I will keep you informed every step of the way.

Throughout this school year you will see me at the Morningside @Inman location and at Springdale Park ES.  I will be at Morningside three days a week and at SPARK two days a week.  This will give me an opportunity to meet MES students, teachers and parents/guardians as well as become familiar with the Inman building. On my SPARK days, it will allow me to support Dr. Toney in her new role as Principal of Springdale Park as well as filling in until Dr. Toney has hired a new Assistant Principal. If you see me at carpool or at a school event, please be sure to say hello.  

Below you will find several updates regarding the new elementary school.  I ask that you read each section carefully and let me know if you have any questions by emailing me at


Building Site Visits

This past week I was able to walk through the Inman Building with the Morningside Business Manager, Mr. Brian Baron, and then again with the APS Facilities Team.  I must admit that I was very happy with what I saw.  I am particularly excited about the auditorium, cafeteria, gym with bleachers and media center for future school-wide events and student use.  I was also very pleased with the amount of storage space in the Inman Building.  Many teachers will have storage closets in their classrooms and some grade levels will have grade level storage space.  This will allow teachers and students to maximize the space in classrooms for teaching and learning. Lastly, every student in grades K-5 will have access to a locker that is located near their classrooms to store their belongings.  Again, this is another opportunity for teachers and students to use their classroom space to its fullest potential.

As I walked the building with the facilities team, they informed me of the following:

  • All identified Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classrooms will have a sink and cabinet installed over the summer.
  • All old furniture will be removed from the building over the summer to make way for brand new furniture in every classroom, office space, media center and cafeteria.
  • The school gym and cafeteria will be painted to reflect new school colors. (School Colors and Mascot have not been chosen at this time. I am looking forward to getting student input on colors and mascot.)
  • The portables and wooden walkways will be removed, and new sod will be laid.

HR Meeting for Teachers

On November 1st, the APS Human Resources department met with teachers and staff from Mary Lin, Morningside, and Springdale Park to discuss the hiring process for the new school.  The process will occur over three phases until the new elementary school is fully staffed.

Phase 1 – Beginning on November 7th, teachers, and staff of impacted elementary schools (Mary Lin, Morningside, Springdale Park) will be able to express their interest in moving to the new elementary school.   I have committed to speaking with every teacher or staff member that expresses an interest in moving. Those conversations will happen between November 28 – January 31. We will make decisions on hiring that will consider new school needs, teacher certification, endorsements, and budget.  I will work closely with the principals of Mary Lin, Morningside, and Springdale Park to ensure that this process is as equitable as possible.

Phase 2 – Early Transfer Period for all Midtown cluster schools will be in effect from February 1st – February 28th.  Any teacher or staff in the Midtown cluster will be able to apply for a transfer to the new elementary school. 

Phase 3 – APS Internal Transfer Window and External Hiring opens on March 1.

School Naming Committee Meeting

The next school naming committee meeting is scheduled for November 10th, 2022.  The school names that are currently being discussed are Virginia Highland Elementary, Virginia Park Elementary, Virginia Avenue Elementary, Highland Elementary, Highland Park Elementary and Piedmont Elementary.  You can watch the meeting on the APS Board of Education Facebook page.

  • To provide input regarding name recommendations, please click here.
  • To see a complete list of names, please click here.
  • To provide feedback/comments, please click here.

Temporary PTA for New Elementary School

Are you interested in getting involved with the planning of the new school?  Please consider joining the temporary PTA. More information on how to join can be found on the New Midtown Elementary website.

Town Halls

I will hold town halls to engage with the community in the next few weeks.  The first town hall will be for all families re-zoned to the new elementary school. At this town hall, I plan on providing updates as it relates to curriculum choices and teacher/staff needs based on projected enrollment.

Although it is my intention to work with our school-wide community, I also feel it is necessary to get to know Morningside families who have been re-zoned to the new school.  I will hold Meet & Greet opportunities for MES families to ask me questions and get to know me.

Our school community will be inclusive of everyone within our school zone and every neighborhood and family will have an opportunity to be heard. Town Hall and Meet & Greet dates and times are listed below.

11/9 – Meet/Greet with MES families in the Inman Auditorium at 8am.

11/9 – All Re-Zoned Families Town Hall with Mr. Harness will be held in the Inman Auditorium at 6:30pm.

11/16 – Meet/Greet with MES families at 6:30pm in the Inman Auditorium

12/13 – All Re-Zoned Families Town Hall to provide updates as it relates to teacher hires and school budget will be held in the Inman Auditorium at 6:30pm.

New Elementary Virtual Meeting on Legacy (Grandfathering)

Are you interested in learning more about the legacy (grandfathering) process to remain at your current school? Visit the temporary New Midtown Elementary website for more information on how to register for a Virtual Q&A on November 17th at 5pm.

I am looking forward to seeing you all soon.  Please continue to visit the New Midtown Elementary website often for updates and announcements. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at



Terry Harness