“I come from a strong family of educators who believe in teaching children, reaching children while working in communities to change their circumstances,” says Principal Deadre Ussery, adding with a chuckle, “Growing up a teacher’s kid, I fought this career path for a long time. But after graduating college, I asked myself How can I reach the children that look like me? and felt the answer was to get into the classroom in front of them.”
In May 2016, Ussery stepped into the role of Principal at Kirby Middle School in Memphis, TN. Though she may be new to Green Dot Public Schools, she has deep roots connecting her to Memphis education.
Ussery grew up in Millington, just a few miles north of Memphis, and has prodigious experience working in regional public education. She began her career as an elementary school teacher, serving Shelby County and Memphis City Schools, then spent brief sojourns teaching in Key West, FL and Yokosuka, Japan, as she traveled with her husband during his military service.
Upon returning to Memphis, Ussery devoted nearly a decade to growing and developing her skills in the classroom and beyond, expanding her career to include more responsibilities and broader coaching roles within the Shelby County Schools district, including Literacy Leader, PLC Coach, Content Coach and District Instructional Facilitator.
The Green Dot Difference
When discussing why she decided to make the move to Green Dot Public Schools, Ussery credits the organization’s progressive presence and steadily growing impact in Memphis education.
“I appreciate that Green Dot is very intentional in how they approach professional development for educators, how they talk about what it means to create a safe and civil environment for our children and how they are systemically addressing the educational gaps within our communities,” says Ussery.
One of her main objectives for her first year at Kirby Middle is positioning the school as a place of growth within the community. “We want to engage everyone, not just the students inside the school. The vision I want people to walk away with is that Kirby Middle School is a central location for the larger community.”
Ussery is especially proud of the monthly parent-focused events Kirby Middle is hosting, aimed at providing resources to keep families informed and included. For Principal Deadre Ussery, creating truly successful outcomes means more than just helping students thrive–it means lifting families and communities along the way.