Tammy Thomas Garnes

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Flips Hair, Gives Opinion: My Time in the NPR Barbershop

In Crisis Communications, Film and Television, School District Communications, Uncategorized on December 20, 2015 at 1:24 pm

NPRATCSo glad they saved a seat for me in the #NPRBarbershop this weekend with NPR’s All Things Considered host Michel Martin and fellow guests Jenny Davis and Anil Dash. We talked about a little bit of everything – from the importance of grooming crisis-ready kiddos to the impact of Star Wars on each of our lives. Trust me…it was a lively discussion and the force was very strong with this panel. Enjoy.




Twitter as a Life-Line: School Shootings and Social Media Crisis Communications

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm

This was a first for me as a school district communicator. You hear about school shootings, you see them covered on the news, you pray that you and your children…or any children, ever experience a tragedy that causes you to lose faith in your safe place, your school. Our school district experienced its first school shooting January 31, 2013. There were injuries, but thankfully, no deaths. Click the image below to read about how our office tried something new during a major crisis.

I must admit, I didn’t have a real social media communications plan in place for a crisis this big. Of course the school district had a plan, but how were we going to beat the messages being put out to the media via text messages and social media platforms? My instincts kicked in and my spirit (yes, my spirit), told me to be honest, open and truthful.  Transparency with parents and the community during a crisis ALWAYS works. Thank you Melissa Agnes for the coverage.


A Mystery Revealed: The Face Behind the Atlanta Public Schools Twitter Feed

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I must say, it is an incredible feeling to be ‘profiled’ on the local news for doing what you feel is the right thing.  Check out the story below from Atlanta station WXIA on my back to school social media efforts.  I hope this inspires other districts to do the same!


Fishbowl DC Features this Southern Girl’s Photo!

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

An Op-Ed by Me and Rhee? (I’m surprised she would have me too ;)

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm

‘Last in, first out’ bad for students



7:15 p.m. Wednesday, February 23, 2011  AJC.com 

You can’t underestimate the power of quality educators in our schools. When children are taught by an effective teacher three years in a row it can change their life trajectories. So, one would think that we would do everything possible to ensure that all kids have access to the best teachers. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Across the nation, some 160,000 teacher jobs are at risk because of a wave of layoffs that will likely occur this summer. To make matters worse, the majority of the country’s states and school districts conduct layoffs using an antiquated policy commonly referred to as “last in, first out,” or LIFO. The policy mandates that the last teacher hired is the first teacher fired, regardless of how good that teacher may be. Effectiveness with students plays no role in these employment decisions.

To put this issue into perspective, Georgia is facing a budget crisis of $1.7 billion, and legislators will likely make major cuts to education, which means 30,000 teachers may lose their jobs statewide. Unfortunately, because of “last in, first out” policies, our children stand to lose some of the best teachers.

Research shows that in schools, the factor that has the greatest impact on student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. With only 27 percent of Georgia’s eighth-graders on grade level in reading on the last National Assessment of Educational Progress exam, Georgia can’t afford to lose effective educators. If cuts are inevitable, we must ensure that they have minimal impact on children.


My First Family History Speaking Engagement ~ So Excited!

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

OUR STORIES – AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILY HISTORY: Tammy Thomas Garnes, who co-produced “Roots – Celebrating 25 Years,” will be the speaker. There will be a workshop on identifying ancestors’ slave owners, slave surnames and designing a family tree. Sponsored by the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society. Free. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Greensboro Public Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. 547-0178, www.ncaahgs.org.

Tammy's G-G-G Grandfather, Berry Loach (DeLoach) served in the Civil War with the 57th U.S. Colored Infantry out of Arkansas.

A few photos

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Just like me....

This photo was taken outside of the nutrition center at the NW Haiti Christian Mission. As I was taking it, the mom ran up to me and pointed to my hand. I have a little skin tag on my left hand that’s been there since birth. Then she pointed as this angel. “The same.” I got tears in my eyes. I don’t have an extra finger, but I’ve always wondered about this little nub on my hand. I smiled. “Yes” I said, “the same.”

Be of Service

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Looking for a way to serve today and all year long?

In 1994, Congress charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with encouraging Americans to celebrate the holiday as a national day of service.  People all over the country are volunteering in their communities in response to Dr. King’s question.

Through Serv.gov the sky is the limit.  Don’t wait or an emergency, holiday or a disaster for inspiration to serve.  Inspiration is all around you!  Be the change.

What can you do?

Atlantan’s Donate for Haiti

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 at 12:42 am

There seem to be so many ways to donate right now to Haiti that I had to compile a list of what’s going on in Atlanta, just so that I could keep it all straight.  I hope this list helps one of you as well.  Whether you donate  money, time or goods, just do something to help your fellow man.


The ASHE Foundation (recently featured on CNN) and Deeply Rooted (A Natural Hair Care Center) in Atlanta have partnered to take “Shoes to Haiti”. If you reside in the Georgia area, please take your new or gently worn shoes as soon as possible to Deeply Rooted 3241 Camp Creek Pkwy, East Point, GA 30344, (404) 763-2400 or Deeply Rooted (North), 2443 Spring Road, Smyrna, GA 30080, (770) 436-2400.  The founder of the Ashe Foundation is a dear friend of mine from Los Angeles and she is flying all the way out here to personally pack and ship the items herself!

Foot Solutions on behalf of Soles4Souls, the international charity dedicated to providing free footwear to people in desperate need,  is asking the public to drop off their gently used shoes at any of their 240 worldwide locations and or to contribute monetary donations for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.  Here is a list of local area Foot Solution Stores.  CLICK HERE

Victory World Church in Norcross, GA is accepting clothing, food, medical supplies and toiletries.  To find out more about their specific needs and drop off dates and times, CLICK HERE.

H.O.P.E. Ministries of Georgia, Inc., and the Clayton County Wide Homeowners Association
Location: 7929 Jonesboro Road, Jonesboro.
Contact: Dabouze Antoine, (770) 374-6458.
Way to help: The organization is collecting medical supplies and monetary donations to take to Haiti next week. Representatives from H.O.P.E. Ministries of Georgia, Inc., and the Clayton County Wide Homeowners Association will be receiving donations at the H.O.P.E. office on Saturday, from 1 p.m., to 6 p.m.

A Singles Club at the Berean Seventh-day Adventist to Church in Atlanta is collecting Saturday clothes, water, canned goods and hygiene items to be sent earthquake victims in Haiti.  The collection site is at the church at 291 East Hamilton Holmes Drive.  Shalanda Stewart, president of the group, noted that one club member had lost two uncles in the earthquake.   The drive will continue until Feb. 27.  On week days, supplies can be left at the deacon’s office at the church between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Morehouse College – In a quick Morehouse community response, the leaders of the Morehouse College Haitian Relief Effort, which was initiated by President Robert M. Franklin ’75 Tuesday evening, are asking students, faculty, staff and alumni to donate items such as non-perishables, food items, hygiene products, toiletries, towels, pain medications and clothing. The items are being collected in Room 343 of the Leadership Center, Gloster Hall and at the Kilgore Campus Center until Wednesday, Jan. 20. The items will then be shipped to Miami and then flown on a chartered plane to Port-au-Prince.


Join Mayor Kasim Reed and special musical guests on the MLK holiday for a special fundraising event for Haitian victims.  Atlanta Cares for Haiti is a call to Action by Big Boi and the Atlanta celebrity community in support of CARE’s Haiti Relief efforts.  CLICK HERE for location and more information.


Shaun King, the Pastor at Courageous Church in Downtown Atlanta is on a mission to raise enough money to purchase 4 Panasonic Toughbooks to aid workers in Haiti.  He has spent the entire week tweeting, emailing and updating posts on Facebook as he helps to get water and supplies to those in need.  CLICK HERE to read more and donate!

Kroger  – Atlanta-area locations.
Way to help: Between now and Jan. 30, customers can round up their purchases to the next dollar, with the difference going to the American Red Cross to pay for relief efforts in Haiti.

Whole Foods – Through January 31st, shoppers can conveniently make donations at Whole Foods Market’s registers. Shoppers can contribute $1, $2, $5, $10, or any designated amount to each store’s selected non-profit relief organizations.

As I find more ways to be of service, I’ll update this list.  And please, feel free, to share in the comments what your local group is doing.  Together WE CAN be the change we want to see in the world.  For a list of charitable organizations involved with Haiti that can get aid to citizens quickly, check out this MSNBC list or organizations.

Donate Now to Haitian Victims!

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Our family is working to rebuild the

Trinity Nutrition Center and Mary Goodwin Clinic in Haiti!

FRIENDS FOR MISSIONS has worked in Haiti for 40 years!  My goal is to raise enough money to rebuild their structures and also to sponsor children that need to complete their education so that one day they can “be the change” in their country!

CLICK HERE for more information about FRIENDS FOR MISSIONS.

THANK YOU  to all of our friends and family members who are donating.  We can do this!!!  God Bless!!!

She attends school because of Friends For Missions!

Helping In Haiti

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Happier Times at the Trinity Nutrition Center and Goodwin Clinic

I’m sure you’re sitting in front of the tv this week, like me, torn between looking at the images coming in from Haiti and turning your head when it becomes just too much to digest.


I’ve known so many people who have attempted to go and be of service in Haiti over the years.  It’s a country full of genuine people who want the best for their families, but also a city that has been tormented with internal political struggle and devastating poverty.  An earthquake in Haiti is like pouring salt into a horrible open wound.

My husband’s family has been involved in Missionary work in Haiti since the 1960’s.  Paul’s grandmother, Odessa Goodwin, started an orphanage in Haiti in the 1960’s.  Her daughter in law, Mary Goodwin, visited and felt the need to add to the program a nutrition center for parents and children so that they could receive food daily and learn how best to stay healthy.  The organization she started was called FRIENDS FOR MISSIONS.

ACTION:  Right now we are pooling together resources from friends and family to help FRIENDS FOR MISSIONS with their effort to rebuild the Nutrition Center and Clinic in the Port Au Prince Suburb of Petion-Ville in an area called Bourg Champagne.

The 80 children that use the Nutrition Center don’t have food at home on regular days and depend on the Center for breakfast and lunch on school days.  Now they have nothing.  If you are looking for a place to donate, where your dollar will have a visible direct impact, CLICK HERE and donate thru the Friends of Missions Pay Pal Page.  Learn more about Friends For Missions HERE.


Children eat at the Nutrition Center

*Nutrition Center (Trinity Baptist Centre De Nutrition) opened in 1972, renovated in 1990 and in 2009.  Offered a nutrition teaching program for children and their mothers.  Until this week it fed 81 children every day.  Expected to have been demolished during the quake.

Exam Room that was JUST completed last year

*The Clinic (Mary Goodwin Laboratory) completed in 2009 with $6,000.  Expected to have been destroyed this week.  Children and adults were able to finally receive medical attention at this site.

A Child holding her new dress donated by the Mission

*Child Sponsorship is the fastest growing program in the ministry. More than 1,000 children sponsored to go to school during the history of the program.  Currently there are 50 children being sponsored by families in the U.S.  Some of the children are now in College and work as civil engineers, nurses, engineers, teachers, auto mechanics, accountants, lab technicians, physicians and ministers.  Even more will be in need of sponsorship due to the earthquake. DONATE

Who Is In Charge:

The directors of the Friends for Missions office in Haiti are Bishop Lopez Dautruche and his wife, Lise. They serve as liaisons between the U.S. and Haiti. Sister Lise is responsible for distributing funds and food, correspondence and other necessary communications in Haiti as they relate to the Children’s Sponsorship Program and the Trinity Nutrition Center. They have partnered with us for over 35 years and have served with integrity and in excellence. We truly praise God for their faithfulness.

In 2002, the Lord called Sis. Mary’s daughter, M. Ellen Goodwin Freeling, to take up the mantle of Friends for Missions, Inc. Sis. Ellen worked side by side with her mother for many years and knows the inner workings of the organization.  Her most recent visit was in February 2009 to help complete the building of the clinic.  Sis. Ellen visits Haiti every two years and sends contributions from supporters to Haiti on a quarterly basis. With everything that she does, serving the Lord through Friends for Missions, Inc. is by far the most rewarding. DONATE

Praising God!

DONATE today through the Friends For Missions Pay Pal Page.  100% of your donation will be used by Bishop and Sister Dautruche to REUILD THE NUTRITION CENTER AND CLINIC and to help children RETURN TO SCHOOL once things have settled!

Any help you give will be appreciated and I will follow up to show you the progress as it happens!

Faces of America

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm

The more ways you can define yourself, the better off you are.
Malcolm Gladwell, Faces of America

My heart skipped a beat as I watched the trailer from this upcoming documentary. Henry Louis Gates’ discoveries make me swoon! Here, he’s done it again and I can’t wait to see what gems he’s uncovered!

From PBS.org: What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the new PBS series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Building on the success of his series African American Lives(called by the New York Times “the most exciting and stirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a long time,”) and African American Lives 2, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. again turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans.

The series premieres nationally Wednesdays, February 10 – March 3, 2010 from 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS.

Featured Guests Include:

Looking Toward the Future

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Southern schools are far more segregated now than they were at the height of integration in the ’70s and ’80s…

A pretty bold statement with plenty of statistics and facts to back it up. Below is a recent article from the New York Times that gives a glimpse into the future of public education in America.

Southern Schools Mark Two Majorities

New York Times
January 6, 2010

ATLANTA — The South has become the first region in the country where more than half of public school students are poor and more than half are members of minorities, according to a new report.

The shift was fueled not by white flight from public schools, which spiked during desegregation but has not had much effect on school demographics since the early 1980s. Rather, an influx of Latinos and other ethnic groups, the return of blacks to the South and higher birth rates among black and Latino families have contributed to the change.

The new numbers, from the 2008-9 school year, are a milestone for the South, “the only section of the United States where racial slavery, white supremacy and racial segregation of schools were enforced through law and social custom,” said the report, to be released on Thursday by the Southern Education Foundation, a nonprofit group based here that supports education improvement in the region. But the numbers also herald the future of the country as a whole, as minority students are expected to exceed 50 percent of public school enrollment by 2020 and the share of students poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches is on the rise in every state.  READ THE ENTIRE STORY

Parents Vs School Lunches: The Battle Continues

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm

One thing you can say these days about parents is that we are well educated on all things kid!  From the best 3d sonograms to the top of the line cribs.  Babyfood to tutoring, after school enrichment and standardized tests…there is no end to the amount of information swimming around in the head of today’s parent.  But one issue or wall that many of us cannot seem to break down, is our unhappiness with school lunches and our inability to seem to fix the problem at many schools.

Yes, I know all of the fabulous stories about schools with organic gardens (our school has one) and local produce, fish and meat being brought into school cafeterias, but every single school district sets its own standards when it comes to where food is purchased and how it is distributed, and even within those districts you will find school taking different approaches to the ill fated school lunch.  Mix in the variables of public vs. private, inner city vs. suburban and you’ve opened a can of worms (pun intended) when it comes to the nutritional value, taste and presentation of school lunches across the United States.

If you are a parent out on the front lines, fighting for better school lunches, you are not alone.   Read below about what’s happening in Illinois.  ”Brunch for Lunch?”  Sometimes you have to wonder who is in charge…the children or the adults.

School lunches: Push for healthier foods faces barriers

By Monica Eng
Chicago Tribune reporter

On a frigid February day last year, Michele Hays filed into Evanston Township High School with other concerned parents to talk with district administrators about school lunches.

One specific target of the parents’ ire was a cafeteria meal called “Brunch for Lunch.” As luck would have it, administrators brought a sample of the meal with them.

“When I actually saw it, it was so much worse than I thought it would be,” she remembered.

“So I got up at the meeting and said, ‘You may be meeting all the guidelines … but I think it is unconscionable that you are serving pancakes, a tub of maple-flavored high-fructose corn syrup and a side of cookies for lunch.’”

Even for parents in relatively small suburban school districts, such as those in Evanston, the school food system can seem too big to change. Despite Hays’ unusually open access to administrators and legislators, her yearlong effort to cut back on the weekly “Brunch for Lunch” offering in Evanston’s elementary schools has failed so far.

But a Tribune examination of school food in Illinois’ 10 largest districts found small positive changes are possible. Several districts serve only fruit for dessert four days of the week; some restrict nachos entrees to once a week; one has done away with breakfast Pop-Tarts; and some offer daily cold bars full of sliced fruits and vegetables.  READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

You’re Not The Boss of Me!

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2009 at 3:50 am

My kids are with Grandma and Grandpa in Arkansas for two weeks (yes t-w-o) and for some reason I’m feeling extremely footloose and fancy free…like I can do anything I want to (sticking my tongue out).  The theme song “You’re Not The Boss of Me” from Malcom in the Middle keeps running thru my head.  

I’ve declared this the week of ME!  I refuse to be rushed.  I refuse to be made to feel guilty about anything by anyone.  And I will do all the things I’ve wanted to do but couldn’t because “I’ve gotta pick up the kids..take the kids…drive the kids…feed the kids…..” all school year/summer long.  Ok, the truth is that the first day all I did was sleep, but today I left the house (bathed) and went out into the real world and did real world stuff!

Next up is a mani/pedi, a trip to the mall for my own back to school shopping and a night out with some fellow Atlanta mommy bloggers.  I’m feeling frisky so maybe I’ll throw in a trip to the dentist and perhaps purge the kids’ closets!  I must admit, I do miss my little angels already.  But all kids need time with their grandparents and I would hate to be the one to deny them the opportunity to bond LOL!  Hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as I am!  Be blessed!


Enjoying the summer with the hubby!

Enjoying the summer with the hubby!