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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

APS board postpones decision over Interim Superintendent Erroll Davis' contract

Superintendent Erroll Davis

Atlanta Public Schools met yesterday to discuss interim superintendent Erroll Davis' contract. After a private three-hour meeting, the board opted to push back their decision on whether or not he should become APS' permanent superintendent.

This postponement comes on the heels of Davis' swift replacement of North Atlanta High School's leadership earlier this month. His moves outraged community members, and ultimately led to a contentious meeting held at the high school two weeks ago, in which Davis publicly explained his decisions to approximately 900 teachers, parents, and students.

Last week, NAHS school board member Nancy Meister pleaded for Davis' contract extension to be delayed. She wrote a letter to APS board Chairman Reuben McDaniel, saying:

I understand from your email that there is a possibility of a legislative meeting next week, the purpose of which is to consider an extension of Mr. Davis’ contract. This letter is to inform you, the entire board, as well as my constituents who have been inquiring about this topic, and the state of North Atlanta, of my grave concerns about scheduling such a vote at this time.

First, I believe any consideration of extending Mr. Davis’ employment should be delayed until a complete and thorough investigation of the controversial firing and reassignment at North Atlanta High School has been initiated and completed.

While I fully understand and respect that it is in realm of the Superintendent to hire, fire and re-assign employees, the way in which the termination of Mr. MyGrant was executed and academy leaders reassigned, is cause for concern. The complete reassignment of an entire administrative team, a new Principal taking over at the end of the month, without any consideration to the repercussions, remains a mystery. At the very least, I believe that the district representative and not just the Board Chair should have been apprised of the situation and asked for opinions with regard to their constituency, prior to its execution.

Additionally, I firmly believe the entire Board should have been made privy to an unprecedented decision of this magnitude. While the Superintendent claims this to be a simple personnel issue, I can tell you my/our constituents have lost all trust in Mr. Davis, given his changing explanations and abrupt actions. [...]

We owe it to the students, parents and taxpayers of Atlanta to make sure we have the answers to all of these questions before extending a contract for an additional year. However, should this Board decide that a vote is in order, it is my desire that through our lessons learned and our SACS agreement, we adhere to our previous endeavors.

As a reminder in our SACS work required action #5 suggested that a final selection of the Superintendent should be determined by more than a simple majority vote of approval by the Board. We, as a Board then made a decision to require a 7 to 2 vote of the seated Board members, for hiring of a Superintendent or Interim Superintendent. It is my hope that we come to a consensus around this.

I hope you can appreciate and understand my concerns and those of the community that I serve.

As part of Davis' contract — which is currently set to expire next June — APS must decide whether or not to renew his contract by this December.

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