A Day In the Life of North Atlanta Principal Curtis Douglass


Olivia Chewning

A Principled Principal: Curtis Douglass, now in his sixth year as North Atlanta school principal, has no normal days as he leads the largest high school in Atlanta Public Schools.

Every student has seen him, all the teachers know him, and every lunch lady loves him. That’s right folks, it’s the man himself: Curtis Douglass. He can often be seen parading the hallways making his way to sit in on a class, all the while high-fiving students and waving hello. On any given day he can be heard announcing that in exactly five minutes, he will be making an announcement. But what takes place between the waving and the announcements? 

Being the principal of a school is no easy task. It requires patience, kindness, leadership, and extreme flexibility. However, Douglass makes this feat seem easy. Born in New York City, this son of the Bronx made the jump south to attend college in Atlanta at Morehouse College where he received a bachelor’s degree in history. He then went on to pursue a master’s degree in special education from Georgia State University. Early in his career he worked as a special education teacher in Dekalb County Schools before making the jump to Gwinnett County. It was in Gwinnett that he joined the administrative ranks at Shiloh High School where he was an assistant principal for eight years. In the 2012-2013 school year he made the switch to APS to become an assistant principal at North Atlanta. He became our school principal during the 2014-15 school year.  

Many might assume his job consists of replying to emails and making phone calls. And for the most part, they’re right. “Typically what I during the day is make teacher observations, make phone calls, and answer emails,” Douglass said. “I meet with my business manager every day, and occasionally I do some student supervision.” 

Although, with some student motivation, the job doesn’t get boring. Despite the seemingly routine parts of the job, every day brings something new. “My favorite part of the job is interacting with students and watching them grow and be successful,” he said. “I love watching them graduate and see what they do afterwards. That’s the biggest thing: the growth.”

With the many challenges that come along with managing such a large school, it is no surprise that Douglass’s biggest piece of advice centers around keeping a positive mindset. “Every day is a new day, and you have to start each day on a new note,” he said. “Dwelling on the negative will only ruin future days.” 

Despite what may be negative in the days of Curtis Douglass, he manages to lead North Atlanta with ease. From supporting students to teachers, Douglass plays a crucial role in making the Warriors so successful. After all, the halls wouldn’t be the same without a friendly wave from the man, the myth and the legend himself. (And there would be no pre-announcement-announcement).