APS announces finalists for school chief. Never heard of them. Have you?

Here’s the list.  I never heard of any of them, but that may be a good thing as they aren’t the same 10 names that end up on every list. I found bios and photos of the three. They have plenty of experience.

Dr. Cheryl L.H. Atkinson (Lorain City Schools)

Dr. Cheryl L.H. Atkinson (Lorain City Schools)

Cheryl L. Atkinson, superintendent of Lorain City Public Schools in Ohio:

Her bio from the system web site:

Dr. Cheryl L. H. Atkinson has been the Superintendent of Lorain City Schools since August 2007.  During her tenure, she has implemented a comprehensive reform model, Success For All, which has increased Ohio Achievement Test scores in reading for all elementary and middle schools.  Dr. Atkinson has also moved the district forward technologically by implementing an electronic grade reporting system, Progress Book, giving parents daily access to their children’s grades.  In addition, all students in grades 6 through 11 have been issued E-books instead of traditional textbooks.  Students now have all their textbooks loaded electronically on a laptop, which enables them to access the current learning tools and technologies they need to compete in the 21st Century workforce.

Dr. Atkinson was formally Deputy Superintendent of the Kansas City, Missouri School District, a district with more than 38,000 students and more than 70 schools.  She also served as Associate Superintendent for School Administration and Regional Superintendent for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, a district with over 125,000 students in over 150 schools.

Dr. Atkinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Learning and a Master of Education in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She earned her Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.  She has been married for 21 years to Terrence L. Atkinson, Sr.  They have three sons.

Dr. Barbara Jenkins (Broad)

Dr. Barbara Jenkins (Broad)

Barbara M. Jenkins, deputy superintendent of Orange County, Fla.

Her bio from the Broad Superintendents Academy:

Barbara Jenkins is deputy superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Fla., a district with more than 177,000 students in 161 schools. In this role, Jenkins supervises the Division of Teaching and Learning including area superintendents. She previously served as chief of staff for the district and before that as chief human resources officer.

Prior to joining Orange County Public Schools, Jenkins served as the assistant superintendent for human resources of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, a district with more than 114,000 students in 133 schools.

In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, she helped create, monitor and reform strategic programs, which resulted in improved teacher quality in economically disadvantaged schools and improved recruitment and retention for the entire district. Earlier in her career she served as a teacher, trainer, principal and senior director of elementary education for Orange County Public Schools.

Jenkins has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s of education in administration and supervision, and a doctorate in education leadership from the University of Central Florida.  Jenkins is a graduate of the 2006 class of the Broad Superintendents Academy.

Dr. Bonita Coleman-Potter (Broad)

Dr. Bonita Coleman-Potter (Broad)

Bonita Coleman-Potter, deputy superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland.

Her bio from the Broad Superintendents Academy:

In June 2009, Bonita Coleman-Potter was appointed to the position of deputy superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, a district with over 130,000 students. Previously, Coleman-Potter served as deputy superintendent, office of instruction for Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi, a district with more than 32,000 students and 59 schools.

In this role, she guided all instruction-related functions, including the development, implementation and evaluation of the district’s curriculum, accountability and assessment programs and the effective operation of the district’s schools. Before that she served in the Mississippi Department of Education as associate state superintendent, office of academic education and as bureau director II in the office of reading, early childhood and language arts. Coleman-Potter has a 15-year career in public education that includes service as a public school teacher and a college professor.

She has a bachelor’s degree in English/secondary education from Tougaloo College in Mississippi, a master’s degree in English from the University of Mississippi, and a doctorate in educational administration from Jackson State University.  Coleman-Potter is a graduate of the 2008 class of the Broad Superintendents Academy.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog


148 comments Add your comment

Erica Long

June 14th, 2011
6:44 pm

A quick Google of Cheryl Atkinson shows that she’s also a finalist to head the Cleveland Public Schools.


June 14th, 2011
6:53 pm

Unless they have something to run from, they must be nuts to come to the mess in Atlanta no matter what it pays.


June 14th, 2011
6:55 pm

Deputy superintendents have many of the responsibilities without the title of superintendent. I’d say consider either one. Jenkins comes from a huge district in FL and Coleman-Potter is from a county that has a largely affluent minority population. I would think either one would be better than the mess we have now in Atlanta.


June 14th, 2011
7:00 pm

Well dang. I would have bet my new hat that Ramona Tyson would be on that list!

By the way

June 14th, 2011
7:15 pm

Hmmm, two of the finalists are Broad Superintendents Academy alumna. Not a good sign. Personally, I was hoping APS would take Ed Heatley, LOL.


June 14th, 2011
7:21 pm

What!? No white candidates?? I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED I tell you!!

Maureen Downey

June 14th, 2011
7:23 pm

@Lee, Took down your comment on the Duncan letter. Feel free to repost but without the attack on students.


June 14th, 2011
7:28 pm

IS their diversity in the finalists or is the NAAWhitePeople gonna have to complain?


June 14th, 2011
7:30 pm

All three of these ladies are well qualified to run APS. Whoever is selected, the first order of business should be to get rid of every one of Beverly Hall’s cabinet members, top administrators, Penn Payne, Elwood “Duck” Duckworth, Nader Sohrab, ONE of the Accounting Managers, the Grants Manager, Deputy CFO & Keith Bromery. Did I leave out anybody?


June 14th, 2011
7:33 pm

@Lee & Tim – Take a stroll over to Fulton, Cobb & Gwinett Counties. There you will find wall to wall white superintendents. Frankly, I’m disappointed that no black male made the cut. After Beverly Hall, who wants another woman to lead APS?


June 14th, 2011
7:45 pm

All have worked in school districts with over 100K students and have worked in instruction during their administrative career. Two worked in Charlotte-Mecklenberg where the new Fulton County superintendent is from. I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about that school system.

Just an observation, does anyone want to know anything about their families? It was posted for Dr. Atkinson (a non Broad Academy candidate). While I would want them to succeed in their job, I like seeing the balance. Maybe I’m old fashioned in that respect as I don’t want to see people married to their careers.

not shocked

June 14th, 2011
7:46 pm

Chillywilly, there are still some white families left in Fulton (North), Cobb and Gwinnett……..


June 14th, 2011
8:06 pm

check lorain city schools’ scores…3rd worst in the state of ohio…their scores continue to drop with adkinson’s lack of leadership!!!! she reorganizes the top administrators so much no one knows who is doing what job or who to answer to….the principals aren’t allowed to call her!!! this is a small school system compared to aps and most of the public wants here gone along with the school’s attorney(her landlord)…be very careful aps…


June 14th, 2011
8:11 pm

Broad Academy! Look out y’all.


June 14th, 2011
8:13 pm

Why, oh why, didn’t someone check the grammar and syntax in Coleman-Potter’s quote on the Broad web-site!

Glad I can afford to send my children to Pvt School

June 14th, 2011
8:17 pm

What do you call it when you keep making the same mistake & expect a different outcome?


June 14th, 2011
8:25 pm

Eli Broad and Gates are about to be running education (if not already)….


June 14th, 2011
9:01 pm

I don’t believe that Atkinson will be a good fit for APS. She has no blacks in her administration. Something is definitely wrong with that picture. Don’t touch her, APS.

Ima White Jarrell

June 14th, 2011
9:03 pm

Same ole same old…Broad Take Over…What’s wrong with having a Black Man in the Finalists? I’ve had enough of the Soro Stuff to last me a few lifetimes!!! I’m going to have to talk to Dr. King at Hillside about this. I’d rather look at Eddie’s muscle shirts than suffer more from the Soro Mafias. I’d rather endure a Creflo tithing sermon than listen to the screeching voices of phony, self-righteous Soro Superintendents. Too much “estrogen” in leadership on Trinity already? Am I wrong??? Please let me know. I think that the Brothers have suffered enough discrimination already.

Jerry Eads

June 14th, 2011
9:05 pm

No data other than that my ex many years ago came through Lorain public schools. Easily, hands down, given the area’s middle European heritage, makes the area one of the most viciously bigoted cultures in the country. Their perspective makes the South look positively egalitarian. If she’s survived that she’s possibly worth considering.

Lorain is/was one of the North’s many steel/auto towns. It must have 30% unemployment (a guess; I didn’t look it up). It would be absoulutley no suprise at all that the worthless metric of test pass rates showed their destitutely poor kids at the bottom of even Ohio’s barrel. I wouldn’t pull a hair trigger to blame the current supt alone for those data.


June 14th, 2011
9:20 pm

Broad Academy…..that should send warning bells off across the city.


June 14th, 2011
9:42 pm

Yeah….we live in an age now where we can find out pretty much anything online……So, Why are they leaving ? What motivates them ? And What if any conflicts, issues, controversies, or monetary impropriations have they been involved in the past at their current jobs or previous jobs ???

I’m Tirrrrrrred as the REST of the ATL taxpayers are….. of our “consistently incompetent APS School Board” hiring these “scholarly educators that can walk on water, and they really should be traded publically for what results they have been able to convolute”……and then find out later what BH stated “Oh, i was unaware of anyone of any incompetence, malfeasance, thievery, grade changes, or inappropriate conduct”. Plllllleeezzzz !

Someone needs to dig up the issues that will matter for our children ?

And WHY are there only Afro-American woman as candidates ? Isn’t that some form of discrimination ? What about Men….White, Black, Asian ? We need a Male leader like “Joe Clark”

Mark my words…….as the Sun rises, we’ll be dealing with this again like Einstein’s theory of insanity in a few years. And no im not a pessimist, im a realist.

If Vegas took wages on this, i’d put my money on #13.

Holler if ya hear me ?

One Smart Teacher

June 14th, 2011
9:44 pm

If APS needs a superintendent, they can have Dr. Heatley from Clayton County! Please take him!


June 14th, 2011
9:54 pm

I am sick and tired of the whole mess at the APS….when they pull back the rug….they will find an aweful mess!!! The children deserve better!!! The employees deserve better!!!!! The community deserve better!!!! They are running the district like a mom and pop corner store….it is horrible!!!! I feel for the new person coming on board!!! They will have a lot of land minds to uncover….A LOT!!! They need to clean HOUSE!!! The ENTIRE senior cabinet should be abolished – done away with!!! They are all useless!!! And who is the new exe director in employee services – she always looks a mess and I hear she talks about everybody – TYPICAL APS……the six months that I have been with the district have been unlike any other experience I have ever had in life!!!

Please take heed new Super…..there is a lot of work to do on the OPERATIONAL side of the house….trust me it is a MESS!!!!


June 14th, 2011
10:04 pm

Do you think SACS might just look at the not so coincidental circumstances that all the finalists are 3 black female graduates from the Broad Academy? Their backgrounds will also be scrutinized.

Maybe they are qualified and/or this is the best the APS can do under the extreme circumstances. I sure trust SACS a lot more than anything to do with the APS or school board.

Ed Johnson

June 14th, 2011
10:07 pm

Each of the three finalists is a Broad Superintendent Academy graduate. How did such an indefensible situation happen?

Cheryl Atkinson
The Broad Superintendents Academy Class of ????
A Roster of Academy Graduates
Current Superintendents
These graduates of the Broad Superintendents Academy are serving in the superintendency at present. Where noted, the individual worked outside the education field prior to participating in the academy.

The Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2008
“The new agenda of urban education requires that the superintendent be an example of lifelong learning and be dedicated to eradicating the achievement gap, while creating a sense of urgency about the critical tasks of the district’s work. Participating in The Broad Superintendents Academy will be in an invaluable experience in providing relevant professional development and networking experiences to meet the challenges of the urban superintendency.”

The Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2006
“I consider it a tremendous honor and a privilege to have worked in public education for the past 21 years. Throughout my career I have aspired to higher levels of leadership because of an undying passion for education and what it must mean in the lives of our youth. I believe that every child can learn at a high level when educators and a community take a relentless attitude toward making that learning a reality. I want to be a part of that reality someday as superintendent of an urban school district.”

M. Harvey

June 14th, 2011
10:09 pm

I’m glad to see this finally coming to an end. All three are great, but my preference is Coleman-Potter (1st) and Atkinson (2nd). Not sure about Jenkins.

Dr. John Trotter

June 14th, 2011
10:25 pm

Nothing will change. NO disciplne = no real achievement.

Change In leadership

June 14th, 2011
10:30 pm

3 black female remind me of Hall, Augustine and Cotman, and that would not be a good thing for APS.

Change In leadership

June 14th, 2011
10:34 pm

I think APS need to hire another search firm, because we need a male Superintendent.


June 14th, 2011
10:47 pm

WAKE UP ATLANTA!!!!!! It’s time to march, protest and raise pure HELL!!!! These three women are Dr. Beverly Hall all over again and we are not going to stand for either one them causing more damage. You mean the search firm couldn’t find a qualified man no where on this planet to serve as the superintendent? These gypsies with their Broad credentials, degrees and no families is no good for APS!

The APS board need their a– kicked for even bringing these folks as finalist as she waddles out to hop a plane the hell out of dodge. This is all so crazy!! Will the madness ever end in this city? When will this nightmare end


June 14th, 2011
10:58 pm

APS needs a qualified male superintendent now! No more she males right now with her gang, Enough already. Why would the APS board try to pull this fiasco off secretly??? Why?? We are not interested in your three finalist and we will work like hell to find all of the dirt in their past as far back as high school to prove we are correct. Watch!! Let the games begin, our private investigators are on the ground now searching high and low.


June 14th, 2011
11:04 pm

If Dr. Atkinson is touting Success for All, I say no! Every teacher I know is praying for a superintendent that is willing to get rid of it. It does NOT work and kids are falling behind. Claiming that scores in Ohio improved makes me think that she’s just another Hall.

I would like to see a broader search. There is just too much at stake.

Smart, Qualified Boards Needed Everywhere

June 14th, 2011
11:12 pm

What I hope to see is concerned citizens — that means all of you, bloggers and commenters — analyzing evidence of success or lack thereof (that evidence being direct or circumstantial), instead of blindly asserting that a superintendent needs to have a certain shade of skin or certain private parts. That goes for both APS and DeKalb so-called stakeholders. Grow up, folks, and focus on the ever-present goal that made this country the model that it has been and that, properly implemented, it still is: public education.

M. Harvey

June 14th, 2011
11:12 pm

This is silly. Never heard of people saying that a woman is needed when the search includes three men. Self hate.


June 14th, 2011
11:14 pm

APS = A Place of Stress !!!!!!! Daily……………..HELP!!!!!


June 14th, 2011
11:24 pm

The last women leading APS kept up so much drama that no one wants to see another one in charge any time soon. That is a fact M. Harvey.

Hey Chillllyyyyy......

June 14th, 2011
11:55 pm

Chilly Willy, add the name Brenda Muhammad to your list. Have you looked into what is going on with her? She is already using her influence to get a very close family member a job (and you can bet she uses this tie to Muhammad to come and go at her leisure at the taxpayer’s expense). Muhammad also uses her influence for another very close family member to attend school in APS out of district. Both of these very close family members of Muhammad definitely use the name and the ties to do and say whatever they want. Look into it Chilly Willy for truth purposes and you will find even more than I put on here, but add her to the list. If APS allows her to chair the board, it will be business and dealing dirt as usual. Don’t let Muhammad fool any of you….she has her own agenda. But the real question should be how can she assist in running the district when she can’t keep her personal life out of the district??? I say the heat should be turned on her…why allow her to continue with her own little brand of mafia wars????


June 15th, 2011
12:39 am

Your comment about Charlotte is interesting.

I had relatives with children there about 15 years ago and said all their schools were horrible. Has it improved?


June 15th, 2011
12:45 am

Buckhead and the Step Up Society can prop up another Beverly Hall AKA Mayor Reed…it will be more of the same. APS is not lead by its Superintendent…it is lead by the Buckhead machine that props up the leader they can most likely manipulate.

The Northside runs APS…and anyone taking the fake position or leadership will need to have the spin of a worm if they plan to stand up to the Buckhead agenda.

And the beat goes on…


June 15th, 2011
12:59 am

they will need to have the spine of a worm…and understand their position in the politics of Atlanta’s Plantation Scheme.

All these women look white enough…and have an education…now they will need to pass the Buckhead test.


June 15th, 2011
1:04 am

Which one is willing to sell her soul?

Which one will turn a blind eye to dishonesty and unethical behavior that spells success by any means?

Emily Crutcher

June 15th, 2011
1:56 am

Why on earth would Atkinson be a finalist? It takes only a few really simple searches to find out that Lorain is a failing school district.




And, the one that Iike the best, is the paying for a new “brand” in order to help turn the school around!

Stanton Crim Sylvan

June 15th, 2011
3:02 am

Crim…Harris…Canada…Hall [Butt and Strickland excluded from this list]…all of these out-of-state superintendents were complete disasters. Any three of the finalists will continue the long line of complete failures. Broad Foundation broads…erh, I mean grads. What a mess. What a complete joke. What are “search” firms for? Just get the Broad Foundation’s phone number.

Are we really scraping from the bottom?

You will NOT see any improvement in the conditions in the Atlanta Public Schools.

30318 Teacher

June 15th, 2011
4:29 am

Cleveland passed over its 3 finalists and selected the current Chief Academic Officer for a one-year contract.

Education observer

June 15th, 2011
4:35 am

Best of luck to APS is getting the right choice. In the event that this does not work out, I encourage APS to look at 2 Georgia educators working as a package deal. Dr. King in Rockdale County and Dr. Dyer in Gainesville City. As a team, they are just what APS needs. King is interested in continuing as a superintendent. Dyer cares about ATL, is a native, and seems to be more about the work than the title. What a team they would make!


June 15th, 2011
7:35 am

SAY NO to these women! Obviously the search firm compromised this search and was influenced by SACS & the Chamber of Commerce. You mean to tell me that no black men applied and are qualified to lead APS? PLEASE!!! This is more of the same and unacceptable.


Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

June 15th, 2011
7:51 am

Surely any new APS superintendent would order external performance, financial and personnel audits of the system. Upon their completions, s/he would order these out-of-state auditors to release their reports directly to The Public.


June 15th, 2011
7:59 am

For those of us who are new here, what is Broad Academy, and why should we be so wary of it?


June 15th, 2011
8:05 am

LOL…This will be so funny. The Detroit of the South has seen its days come and go. We have Doctors, Bishops and a whole host of eggheads coming strait from these diploma mills all for the sake of diversity and then destroying as much as possible upon their arrival to Atlanta. Their arrogance is only superseded by their ignorance.

These ladies will also fail. Watch and learn!

The good part, if there is one, would be I dont have to live in little detroit so fine by me.