I am APS is a special series highlighting students, faculty, alumni, and others in celebration of the rich and diverse experiences, backgrounds and contributions within the Atlanta Public Schools family. Together, we stand in solidarity of our shared admiration of APS and the mission which guides us.
September is Alumni Month at Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and when looking for an example of a true APS veteran, one person stood shoulders above the rest as one who has mastered the art of paying it forward.
Charlotte Napper began her professional APS journey as a graphic designer 16 years ago, and since then has been the creative driving force behind many of the district’s most memorable and visible logos and campaigns.
Today, she continues to serve APS as a communications and project coordinator, making invaluable connections between the Communications team and other APS departments to ensure each project successfully crosses the finish line.
The intersection of her past design work and current contributions have qualified her to be lovingly named “Ms. Fix It”. In a word, she’s invaluable.
She’s also an APS alumnus of Frederick Douglass High School, class of 1988. Matriculating the year the school celebrated it’s 20th anniversary, she was known as one of the “most congenial” amongst her classmates. She shared with us what she’s learned, what she’s most proud of and how she’s continuing the rich legacy of APS.
Charlotte Napper, Frederick Douglass High School Class of 1988. Photo: 1988 Polaris Yearbook for Douglass High School.
APS Communications and Project Coordinator, Douglass High School Class of ’88.
How do you currently exhibit APS and school pride?
I exhibit school pride or district pride by showing up every day and doing whatever [is] needed. I make sure that I put forth my best effort in whatever I’m doing. Even if it’s volunteering, I’m going to do the best volunteering job I can do. Or if it’s something that’s work related, I’ll make sure to do my very best because I represent the district. I want to make sure that whatever I do is top quality.
What life-long lessons have you learned from your experience at APS?
I’ve learned that I have as much help as I want and that I’m never by myself. Even if I’m working on a project by myself, I’m never actually by myself. I have plenty of people who are willing to give me really solid advice, whether it’s professional advice or whether it’s project-related advice. I know that they all have a well-meaning spirit and they want the district to succeed as much as I do.
What have been some of your favorite design projects during your time with APS?
One project I’m most proud of is the student guidebook calendar. It not only contained information about the district, but it was also a functional document for parents and for employees because it had a 12-month calendar that they could actually write on, use, and keep track of what was happening throughout the district.
Some of the logos I’ve created are also among my favorites. I worked on the One Carver Cluster logo and I contributed to the Douglass Cluster logo.
What advice would you give to current students at Frederick Douglass?
I would tell them that they should consider going to work for the school district, because that would give them a really great way of influencing changes in the district that can maybe help them or some of their fellow classmates. It can be a way for them to give their talents, their time, and their skills to continuing to support the organization that’s helping them receive a good quality education.
Do you have any fond memories of your time as an APS student?
Probably the pep rallies we used to have. It was just something fun. The school leaders would let us take a break from— I think it was six period. And instead of attending class, we’d have our pep rally in the gym. So that was just a lot of fun. We would also have the drum line, they would play. We’d have other student performances, so it was a way for students to show off some of their extracurricular activities during that time. And then it was also just the camaraderie. You maybe saw [fellow students] in class, but you didn’t get a chance to talk to them. That was a good time to do it. And of course, hanging out with your friends and just running your mouth, because you really couldn’t talk during class. That was just another outlet.