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.
Many of the great opportunities available to APS students come through valued partnerships that provide new and enriching experiences. Making those partnerships work requires a lot of work and collaboration, but it helps when you have an inside woman like Verizon’s director of government affairs and community engagement, Michelle Arrington.
Michelle is a proud product of APS, who graduated from Frederick Douglass High School with the class of 1995. She comes from a family of APS graduates, and her mother worked for the school district for many years. In her role with Verizon, she has been a part of bringing the only four Verizon Innovative Learning Labs in the state of Georgia to APS.
After the unveiling at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, she shared with us why she’s proud to be an alumni and a partner with APS.
Q: How does it feel to be able to work with APS as an alumni?
A: It’s amazing to be able to have a job where you can also give back to the very same school system that you grew up in. My family were all Atlanta Public Schools graduates from various schools throughout the district. I believe in public school education, and I’m glad that Verizon is investing in these labs across the country for public schools and partnering with them to give students opportunities for digital inclusion.
Q: How did your experience through APS set you on your path?
A: At Frederick Douglass High School, I definitely learned leadership skills. I was the editor of the school newspaper. I was president of the senior class. I was the assistant business manager of the entire student government association. I was president of the communications club, so I did the announcements every morning. It really taught me leadership, the importance of leadership, working with others, and building those core skills I needed and prepared me for college. I definitely felt prepared when I went to Howard University, and leaned on the skills that I learned at Douglass.
Q: What makes you proud to be an APS alumni?
A: I think APS is the best school system in the country. What you learn from the Atlanta Public Schools system, and public school systems in general, is that you get to interact and work with everybody, kids from other walks of life. It makes you a more well-rounded person, and you develop core friendships. My closest friends are people I went to high school with, and we still see each other and get together on a regular basis.