Michelle Olympiadis with parentsMy family emigrated from Greece to Atlanta in 1956, making me a first-generation American. I have lived in Morningside since 1995 and have been an Atlanta Public School (APS) parent for over 10 years.  I have three children — one each at Grady High School, Inman Middle School, and Morningside Elementary School.

In the fall of 2007, my oldest child, who has special needs, entered kindergarten. I began working with Atlanta Public Schools seven months prior to ensure that my son would have the educational supports he needed. From my first Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting - when I was told that my son was “not smart enough” for his neighborhood APS elementary school -  through the next year and half, I advocated to ensure that my son received the top-quality education that I knew APS was capable of providing him.

kidsDuring this process I developed an intimate knowledge of APS policies, procedures and personnel extending well beyond those relating specifically to special needs students.  I also acquired expertise regarding federal and state regulations affecting APS schools.  Most importantly, I learned not to take “no” for an answer when it comes to our children’s educational needs.

In my role as a parent and more recently as president of the Morningside Elementary School PTA, an appointee of the Georgia Department of Education’s Student Success Stakeholder Committee and the Grady High School Cluster Advisory, I have developed a broad network of strong relationships with APS and school administrators.  These relationships, coupled with my extensive knowledge of the complex policies and regulations governing APS schools at all levels, have enabled me to work effectively to achieve the best outcome for students.