Atasha James serves as the Principal of Leckie Elementary School for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). In this role, she leads 60 faculty and staff who serve Leckie’s 525 scholars to ensure all students achieve their highest potential and develop a love of school and learning. Leckie earned a 93% approval rating by their students who say they love their school and would recommend it to a friend!
Prior to becoming Principal, Atasha taught at both the Elementary and Middle School levels before working with the Teacher Educator Institute (State University of New York at Buffalo). During this time she completed her doctoral studies. Atasha also led schools in Buffalo City and Anne Arundel County Schools before making DCPS her home. In recognition of her achievements, DCPS offered Atasha a three-year appointment in order to continue her service to the Leckie community.
In 2014, she received the Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Leadership.
Atasha refers to her staff as a "New Breed" of educators as she works closely with her leadership team and offers content-specific training. Each teacher vows to uphold the New Breed Teachers Creed.
Atasha is a Mary Jane Fellow Inaugural Mentor Principal. She is among a short list of school leaders recognized for closing the achievement gap in both math and reading for three consecutive years. An in-depth report on education reform in DC shows Atasha’s school as one of few traditional public schools competing and successful in one of DC’s most challenging areas in the city.
Atasha is emerging as a Green Leader who recognizes where we learn matters. She is committed to a healthy, safe and sustainable learning environment. The Center For Green Schools selected Leckie as their flagship school. Atasha and the Leckie community have put in sweat equity while "greening from the ground up"! In 2016, Atasha will headline the Green Schools Conference and Expo in Pittsburgh to talk about the successes and challenges experienced as an urban educator.
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 2016 National Service Day, President and Mrs. Obama participated in a community service project at Leckie Elementary School. They were joined by their mentees in the White House Mentorship and Leadership Program, AmeriCorps members, students, parents and teachers at our school. In addition to building moveable planters, the Service Day team filled backpacks with books about healthy eating and Dr. King for all of Leckie's students.
Atasha’s experience as a school leader involves caring for and accommodating military families. Approximately 300 of Leckie's students come from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) in Ward 8. Educating and caring for military student's and their families is a labor of love for Atasha as she and the Leckie community strive to honor those who serve our country. She masterfully bridges the cultural divide at Leckie.
Atasha also participated in The Atlantic First Annual Education Summit where educators, innovators and policymakers gathered to examine America's education system from cradle to college and explored changes that could improve how we approach learning in the years to come.
She also co-authors a blog about community involvement with Wendy Spence, CEO of Americorps.