Krissi Davis, music teacher and orchestra director at Henry W. Grady High School, was named Atlanta Public Schools’ 2019-2020 District Excellence in Teaching Award Winner (also known as Teacher of the Year) during the APyeS! Awards held Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Delta Flight Museum.

Davis has served as the orchestra director at Grady High School since Fall 2017. Prior to coming to Grady High School, she taught at Sutton Middle School and served as the lead middle school orchestra teacher for APS. Under her direction, the Sutton Middle School Sinfonia Orchestra performed in the National Band and Orchestra Festival in Carnegie Hall (New York) in Spring 2016.

She also previously taught at the middle and high school levels in Clayton County and Fayette County. While in Clayton County, she directed the Clayton County Middle School Honor Orchestra, and founded the Fine Arts Magnet Orchestra, now Stilwell School of the Arts Orchestra.

“Krissi Davis became a music teacher first because of her love for music, but more so for her philosophy that every student should have the freedom and ability to explore their love of music through formal and informal learning experiences,” said APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. “I am grateful and honored to know that we have such dedicated and passionate educators, such as Krissi, a product of Atlanta Public Schools, who are committed to helping our students be all they can be.

“Our APyeS! Awards are about recognizing that excellence and honoring those teachers, education leaders and partners who are leading our transformation and making it possible for our students to succeed,” she added. “I am proud to work with each of these professionals and partners. They are the difference-makers who inspire hope every day.”

As the APS Excellence in Teaching Award Winner, Davis will represent APS in the Georgia Teacher of the Year Awards next spring.  APS is home to the current Georgia Teacher of the Year, Tracey Pendley, as well as 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist, Dr. Jadun McCarthy; 2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist, Elisha Gray; 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist Tamika N. Ball; 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist Rita L. Simmons; and 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist Jerry Kosoff.

Finalists for this year’s award included Amanda Larkin (Sarah Smith Elementary School) and Kamilah Rose-Pettway (Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School).

Candidates for APS Excellence in Teaching Award are nominated by their respective schools. APS then selects an elementary, middle school and high school Excellence in Teaching winner from a list of semi-finalists to compete for the districtwide honor.

All school-level Excellence in Teaching Award winners were recognized during the special awards ceremony along with other distinct awardees. Other 2019-2020 APyeS! honorees included:

  • Principal of the Year – Eulonda Washington, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy
  • Assistant Principal of the Year – Joy Antone, Samuel M. Inman Middle School
  • Students First Award – Michelle Byrdsong-Walker, Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School
  • Schools First Award – Dr. Sara Womack, Coordinator, APS Fine and Performing Arts
  • GO Teams – Excellence in Leadership –  Dr. John Waller, Principal E. Rivers Elementary School
  • 2019-20 Outstanding GO Team – Hollis Innovation Academy GO Team (Led by Principal Dr. Diamond Jack-Ford)
  • District Partner of the Year – Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
  • • Cluster Partner Awards
    • Carver Cluster – OneCoast
    • Douglass Cluster – Buckhead Church
    • Grady Cluster – Wheat Street Baptist Church
    • Jackson Cluster – Wellspring Living
    • Mays Cluster – Salesforce
    • North Atlanta Cluster – Station 16
    • South Atlanta Cluster – Witherite Law Group
    • Therrell Cluster – The Speak Life Foundation
    • Washington Cluster – L.E.A.D.
  • 2019-2020 Excellence in Family Engagement Parent Award – Alicia DeCriscio
  • 2019-2020 Excellence in Family Engagement Community Award – HTI CATALYSTS (Led by Dr. Folami Prescott-Adams)
  • 2019-2020 Excellence in Family Engagement School-Based Award – Hollis Innovation Academy Family Engagement Leadership team (Led by Principal  Dr. Diamond Jack- Ford)
Krissi Davis, music teacher and orchestra director at Henry W. Grady High School, was named Atlanta Public Schools’ 2019-2020 District Excellence in Teaching Award Winner. (Seth Coleman / Atlanta Public Schools)

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