In 2014, Courtney English was unanimously elected chairman of the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Board of Education. Elected to his first term on the board in 2009 at only 24 years old, Chairman English is not only the youngest chairman in the history of the school system, he is the youngest person to be elected citywide in any capacity in the city of Atlanta’s history and is the first full time public schools teacher ever elected to the board of education. Since taking office, the chairman has championed school autonomy, increased rigorous course offerings throughout the district, commissioned a district wide equity audit to close longstanding resource and achievement gaps, fought to give parents more options for their kids and instituted a number of policies to clean up years of administrative mismanagement, including a widespread cheating scandal.
Under his leadership, the district has reduced the size of central office, increased classroom spending to a record high of 66%, and provided long overdue pay raises to district staff. Chairman English led the board through the districts transition to a charter system, and is currently building a coalition to renew the districts 1% sales tax for school construction; an effort that is expected to raise $500 million. Chairman English also led the negotiations of the longstanding dispute between APS and the City of Atlanta over the Atlanta Beltline. This resolution protects the multi-billion dollar development project and, most importantly, ensures $100 million in new revenue for Atlanta’s students. Most recently, Chairman English led the board to unanimously adopt a massive school turnaround plan geared towards improving the quality of education in the cities lowest performing schools. Taken together, these policy accomplishments represent some of the most aggressive programmatic shifts in APS since integration. When Chairman English joined the board, the district’s graduation rate hovered at 50%. Today, that number is 71% and climbing.
Prior to his election, Chairman English was a founding teacher at BEST Academy, the first all male school in the city of Atlanta in 60 years. Outside the boardroom, Courtney has worked as a strategy and development consultant for various non- profit organizations, and is currently the Chief Education Officer of Edevate,© LLC a technology provider specializing in developing disruptive technologies for mission driven organizations.
A thought leader in education, Chairman English is frequently a guest lecturer at Emory University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Harvard University. He has also presented at various conferences on education including the National School Boards Association annual conference, the Council of Urban Boards of Education, and various programs for Teach for America.
Courtney is a native Atlantan, and a proud graduate of Frederick Douglass High school. He is a graduate of Morehouse College, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Teachers College, Columbia University with a Masters of Arts in Organizational Psychology. Courtney is a member of the LEAD Atlanta class of 2011 and serves of the boards of various non-profit organizations including the National Center for Global Engagement, Child First USA, and the Morehouse College Center for Teacher Preparation Advisory board.