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APS Removing Several Principals From Their Schools

Principals at Carver High School's School of Technology and Mays and Grady highs reportedly among those who will be removed.

Screenshot from 11Alive of Mays High School students during Tuesday's walkout at the school protesting the reported removal of Principal Tyronne Smith. Courtesy 11Alive
Screenshot from 11Alive of Mays High School students during Tuesday's walkout at the school protesting the reported removal of Principal Tyronne Smith. Courtesy 11Alive

Principals from several Atlanta Public Schools are being removed before the 2014-15 school year.

APS released a statement Wednesday confirming the personnel changes, but wouldn’t specify which principals would be removed. 11Alive reported Wednesday that it had confirmed 11 of 13 principals who will be removed including:

- The principal at Mays High School
- The principal at Grady High School
- The principal of South Atlanta Computer Animation and Design
- All principals at Washington High School
- The principal at Carver High School's School of Technology
- The principal at Miles Elementary

On Tuesday in west Atlanta, hundreds of students at Mays High School staged a school walkout to protest the removal of Principal Tyronne Smith.

The unsigned statement from APS said, “The decision to seek new school leadership is never an easy one. We are making these changes in the best interest of our students, with a focus on what is best for the campuses that will be impacted by these decisions.”

The changes come as Superintendent Erroll Davis is concluding his tenure at his post. He will be retiring this summer and the Atlanta Board of Education is in the process of a national search for his replacement, which they hope to complete in April.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Maureen Downey wrote Wednesday that, “APS has not struggled to find new principals; it has been able to lure principals from surrounding districts, including Fulton, because it pays more.”

Here is the statement in full from APS:

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is appreciative of the leadership demonstrated by all of our principals, particularly those who have served the district for many years.  Like all school districts, APS conducts an annual assessment of where we are as a system, as well as a review of any revisions to state law. Necessary changes are made to ensure the district remains in compliance and that all of our students are prepared for the next level and long-term success. This process includes an intense and methodical performance review of all of our schools and their leadership teams.

The decision to seek new school leadership is never an easy one. Recently, some of our school leaders were informed that they would not serve in the role of principal next school year. Our personnel changes have been contemplated over long periods of time – some a year or more, and we believe these decisions are in the best interest of all of the schools that will be impacted. Notifying principals of changes prior to the end of the school year provides time for them to make career decisions. Early notification also allows the district to attract and recruit highly-qualified applicants during the peak hiring season, which gives the district, students and parents the opportunity to provide valuable input as we select stellar new principal leaders. 

The district’s renewed mission to ensure an equitable and high-quality education for all of our students is a priority that supersedes any individual personnel change. Stakeholders should know the decision to make changes at the respective schools was thoroughly vetted by the superintendent and the curriculum and instruction leadership team prior to implementation.

Finally, know that we are making these changes in the best interest of our students, with a focus on what is best for the campuses that will be impacted by these decisions. The support and confidence of the community is appreciated during this process, and we look forward to our collective efforts advancing student achievement for all of our students. 

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