When I arrived in Atlanta in 2014, so many educators, families, students and neighbors embraced me as the new superintendent. They not only welcomed me but also offered to be my friendly guides so that I could understand the unique characteristics of each school and every community.
Among the first people I got to know in APS was Dr. Lorraine Reich, principal of W.T. Jackson Elementary School and known affectionately in her community as the “Duchess of Buckhead.”
Dr. Reich was always dynamic, always forthright. She gave me tons and tons of advice on how to navigate the W.T. Jackson and Buckhead communities. I would not have made it through my first years in APS without her guidance and support.
Like many of you, I was saddened to learn that Dr. Reich passed away last month. A service to celebrate her life will be held at 5 p.m. today at Holy Spirit Catholic Church’s McDonough Hall, 4465 Northside Drive in Buckhead.
Dr. Reich was already a veteran educator when she came to Atlanta in the 1980s, having served as a teacher, curriculum specialist, assistant principal and principal in schools in Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. She joined Atlanta Public Schools in 1985 and was appointed principal of W.T. Jackson in 1998, proudly making it a strong education option for families in the Buckhead community.
During her tenure of nearly two decades, Jackson consistently stood among the top 10% of schools statewide on every testing measure and performance index. Three years after her retirement, it remains one of our highest performing schools.
Dr. Reich was one of those rare teachers who could truly be called “a teacher’s teacher.” Dozens of our own teachers and principals also benefitted from her wisdom. Her influence continues to be felt in other amazing and beautiful educators in APS and elsewhere.
Today, we mourn our beloved friend, mentor, colleague and principal. She left us a fantastic legacy.