On Thursday, Achieve Atlanta announced their new incoming President/Executive Director, Dr. Cheryl Watson-Harris. Achieve Atlanta is a nonprofit that awards need-based scholarships to Atlanta Public Schools students who pursue various post-secondary paths after high school.

Watson-Harris, the former Superintendent of Dekalb County Schools, was fired from the board in April 2022 after a controversy that included deteriorating conditions at Druid Hills High School that was highlighted by concerns in a viral video produced by students. Dr. Cheryl Watson-Harris will take the realm after Founding Director Tina Fernandez left the position in January 2023 to become a fellow for Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative.

“Dr. Watson-Harris’ deep knowledge and experience as well as her caring for those we serve is evident in every aspect of her being. We’re fortunate to have her leadership to build on Achieve Atlanta’s successes over the last seven years. We also thank our dedicated staff and partners who served our scholars–without missing a beat–during this transition.” –Claire “Yum” Arnold, Achieve Atlanta Board Chair

Dr. Watson- Harris will bring diverse experiences starting with being a former teacher, principal, network Superintendent and experience working in the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE). In addition, Dr. Watson-Harris co-founded Urban School Specialists, a consultancy that provides support and services to large urban districts and executive leadership coaching to education and nonprofit leaders. 

“Dr. Cheryl Watson-Harris is an ideal choice to lead Achieve Atlanta not only because of her significant experience working in school districts but because of her passion for all of the young people and the community Achieve Atlanta serves. We are eager to work with Cheryl to improve and grow Achieve Atlanta.” –Russ Hardin, President, Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation.

Dr. Cheryl Watson-Harris will be the next President/Executive Director of Achieve Atlanta starting on May 1, 2023.

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