UPDATED: Guess Who's Hiring? Atlanta Public Schools
District has open positions for principals at several schools.
Just when you thought the uncertainty with Atlanta Public Schools was just about over, there's new twist.
APS is hiring to fill several principal spots and a number of other positions in schools throughout the district, including 4 in East Atlanta Patch.
Open positions include:
- Shirline Carter, principal of Jackson High School in Grant Park
- Michael B. McKnight, interim principal of King Middle School in Grant Park
- Cassandra Miller-Ashley, principal of Hope-Hill Elementary in Old Fourth Ward
- Clara Taylor, interim principal of D.H. Stanton Elementary School in Peoplestown
It's not clear what prompted the vacancies at the four schools.
An APS spokesman said the administrators were not fired.
"No one has been fired. Most tenured educators are on annual renewal cycles; principal positions can be changed at the discretion of management," APS spokesman Keith Bromery told East Atlanta Patch.
"Superintendent Erroll Davis has said that he and his team will evaluate all district leadership, including school-based leaders.
"Keep in mind that nearly half of the APS principals are currently serving on an interim basis," he said. "Davis said he and his management team would be evaluating them, along with other district leaders."
It is unclear if the four administrators will be able to reapply for those jobs or any other positions in the district.
While not addressing Carter specifically, Chris Murphy, a Jackson High School parent and member of its Local School Council, said the school has not had a good record in graduating students.
"But, Jackson is now on Supt. Davis' radar. He has promised, in addition to the $39 million renovation of the school, to focus on getting the help the school needs to improve students' performance," Murphy said.
"Reportedly there will be a cluster administrator in addition to new principals at a number of the clusters schools. All of these positions need qualified, competent, energized and driven individuals to lead these schools where they need to be."
Murphy said he's encouraged by many of the upper-management level changes Davis has made since taking over the district last summer.
"But these principal positions are critical, as most of our schools here have a long way to go to get to 'good,' " Murphy said, adding previous efforts to improve schools, particularly in Southeast Atlanta have not been successful, which led to the formation of several charter schools.
"The charters show that the demographics of Southeast Atlanta are challenging, but not insurmountable," Murphy said. "I would hope that any new candidates recognize the challenges, but savor the obvious esteem parents and citizens here hold for education. The schools can either insure our neighborhoods' stability, or stay a stumbling block — they are that important."
The job openings come a week before the Atlanta Board of Education is slated to vote on a districtwide rezoning of schools proposal that Davis released Saturday.
That proposal calls for the closure of 10 schools, including D.H. Stanton in Peoplestown.
Even though D.H. Stanton is among the schools recommended for closure, Bromery said the district has to proceed with posting for the position in case the APS board votes against its closure.
Taylor, D.H. Stanton's interim principal, had only been at the school since March 12. Already, she was doing things to turn the school around, said Feroza Syed, a board member of the Peoplestown Neighborhood Association.
The interim principal met with residents and parents and was actively working to fix the school's physical issues and focus on students' needs, she said.
"She’s so vested for being there just a few weeks," Syed said. "We would have loved to keep Dr. Taylor. She's been amazing."
In an e-mail to East Atlanta Patch, Taylor reiterated she had only been at the school a short time.
"I am grateful and honored to serve Atlanta Public Schools communities in any capacity deemed necessary by our Superintendent, Mr. Erroll Davis," Taylor wrote in her e-mail.