Friday Feature (New Year's Day Edition): Matt Westmoreland, Assistant Director of Horizons Atlanta and District 3 Representative for the Atlanta Board of Education
Assistant Director of Non Profit, Horizons Atlanta
District 3 Representative for the Atlanta Board of Education
Happy New Year's Day! I am thrilled to feature a member of the Atlanta community today who is making a difference in the lives of countless students. Meet Matt Westmoreland, the Assistant Director of Horizons Atlanta and the youngest member of the Atlanta Board of Education. He was named one of the "20 People to Watch in 2014" by Creative Loafing, included in the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 2015 "Top 30 Under 30" list and is also a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Millennial Advisory Committee. His high energy coupled with his passion for education is quite powerful, and I have a feeling he will continue to serve and lead our city for many years to come! Here is a short interview (that I also included last October in my E-Newsletter), and I also urge you to check out an interesting feature the Grady High School online newsletter/website ran last year on Matt.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself, the type of work you do, and your work with Horizons Atlanta?
Born and raised in Atlanta, I graduated from Grady High School and Princeton University before coming home to teach through Teach for America. In 2013, I was elected to the Atlanta Board of Education, where I serve as chair of the Budget Commission and as Legislative Liaison to the Georgia General Assembly. I also serve as Assistant Director of Horizons Atlanta, an education non-profit serving low-income students across Metro Atlanta through summer enrichment programs.
Q: What are the goals of Horizons Atlanta?
Horizons Atlanta believes every child in Atlanta, regardless of background, should have the opportunity to make a positive impact on our community. We provide summer enrichment programs to eliminate the barriers to success that many face, putting our students on a path to reading proficiently by the end of third grade, graduating from high school, and prepared for their post-secondary endeavors.
Q: What would you like to see Horizons Atlanta accomplish in the next 10 years?
This summer, Horizons Atlanta served nearly 410 students at seven sites. Our three-year strategic plan calls for growing to 12 sites with the capacity to serve 2,000 student across Metro Atlanta.
Q: Which community service outreach effort or fundraising drive has proven to be the most fun for volunteers and participants alike?
Each summer, our seven sites engage hundreds of community members to serve as “Mystery Readers” and financial supporters of our work to provide meaningful summer enrichment programs free of charge to our students. If you’d like to learn more or get involved, please visit www.horizonsatlanta.org
Q: Who is your biggest hero?
John Lewis. We first met back in August 2001, and he’s been a hero and role model ever since. Spent a summer interning with him in D.C. during college, and he came and spoke to my classes when I was a History teacher at Carver Early College.
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.