Tommy Usher, Garden Hills Elementary Principal
Tommy Usher, Garden Hills Elementary Principal

Atlanta Public Schools has removed the “interim” from Principal Tommy Usher’s title and he is now officially the new principal at Garden Hills Elementary School.

The Garden Hills Parent Teacher Association on Feb. 13 confirmed that Usher will remain at the school.

“Mr. Usher was the man of the hour last week at our Moe’s Spirit Night,” the PTA said in a statement emailed to reporters. “When it was known that he’d be joining us, our GHES families turned out in record numbers to congratulate him, the line stretching out the door. When he walked in, he was immediately engulfed in a skirt of children all vying for a hug! He has a superb rapport with the students; and as he is known to pop his head into a classroom just to say hello, all of the children know him well!”

Usher joined Garden Hills in the summer of 2012. Before that he spent five years as program administrator for small learning communities at Sarah Smith Elementary. He grew up in Grant Park in Atlanta, attended Southside High School and obtained his undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta. He holds a master’s in curriculum and instructional design from Central Michigan University and a masters in educational leadership from Georgia State University.

He also was instructional specialist at Grove Park Elementary and has nearly a decade of experience teaching elementary school students.

When Reporter Newspapers interviewed him in August 2012 after he was introduced as the interim principal, he said he wanted to focus on English Language Learners and implementing the common core curriculum at the school. He also said he was enjoying his first few days on the job at Garden Hills.

“It’s a great place,” Usher said in 2012. “It’s a very family-oriented, team-spirited, loving school environment. It’s student and family focused.”

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of