Axe comes down on some APS leadership. El resigns.

The AJC reports some major developments today:

1. Khaatim Sherrer El announced his resignation in the continuing fallout from a cheating scandal that has overwhelmed Atlanta Public Schools. “I just concluded in the end it just shouldn’t be this hard to do the right things for kids,” El said, his voice wavering with emotion as he fought back tears. “I failed to protect thousands of children who come from homes like mine. It remains to be seen, no matter how deep this thing goes, whether the soul of Atlanta has been stirred.”

2. The four removed from area superintendent jobs — Sharon Davis-Williams, Michael Pitts, Robin Hall and Tamara Cotman –  were implicated in the scandal. Davis did not say whether they will remain with the district.

3. Davis also said that two year-round elementary schools named in a state investigative report made public last week will receive new principals before classes start Wednesday. Keisha Gibbons, former assistant principal at Centennial Place Elementary School, was named principal of Boyd Elementary; she replaces Emalyn Foreman. The new principal for Hutchinson Elementary will be named Tuesday, Davis said.

Earlier blog

WABE  radio reported early today that all APS school reform team executive directors had been placed on administrative leave. However, I called APS spokesman Keith Bromery about the report, and he told me the school board has only just gone into executive session and that he was unaware that such an action had been taken.

UPDATE: The report was later carried by TV, including Channel 2 Action News,which reported that the four declined the chance to resign and want public hearings on their cases. WSB-TV says the four — TAMARA COTMAN, ROBIN HALL, SHARON DAVIS-WILLIAMS AND MICHAEL PITTS — are represented by attorney George Lawson. Lawson told the TV station that the school leaders were told resign or be fired.

They chose termination.

In the meantime, Channel 2 Action News also has footage of former APS school chief Beverly Hall in Hawaii.  She doesn’t say much to the TV reporter and looks fatigued.

In addition, the AJC is reporting that Hall may lose her  Superintendent of the Year title, awarded to her in 2009 by the American Association of School Administrators.

UPDATE  at 6:20: Fox 5 is reporting that the four school reform team executive directors have been recommended for termination by the new school chief Erroll Davis, along with Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell,  principal at Hutchinson Elementary, and Emalyn Foreman, principal at Boyd Elementary School.

According to the FOX5:

The School Resource Team reports directly to the superintendent, and the county is divided into four geographic areas comprised of elementary or middle schools. Each area has an SRT. Those SRTs are:

SRT 1 – Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams
SRT 2 – Michael Pitts
SRT 3 – Robin Hall
SRT 4 – Tamara Cotman

Sources tell FOX 5 the following new appointments will be made for those positions:

SRT 1 – Donnell Underdue
SRT 2 – Danielle Battle
SRT 3 – Betsy Bockman
SRT 4 – David White

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

146 comments Add your comment

Digger

July 11th, 2011
4:48 pm

Book her, Dano!!

What --

July 11th, 2011
4:53 pm

– are executive directors? Do all school systems have them?

schoolteacher

July 11th, 2011
4:57 pm

LOL, “I can’t talk.”

Barry

July 11th, 2011
5:12 pm

“Any employee actions relating to the state CRCT investigation report is awaiting Atlanta Board of Education action,…”

Shouldn’t that be actions ARE, not actions is? You can tell this guy’s affiliated with Atlanta Public Schools.

SW

July 11th, 2011
5:18 pm

Fox News just reported the removal and replacement of 2 principals (year-round schools) and the 4 SRT administrators.

EdDawg

July 11th, 2011
5:19 pm

echo

July 11th, 2011
5:23 pm

Just saw the raw video…Bev just seemed peeved that someone caught her on vacation, she doesn’t look ill. It would be funny if they served an arrest warrent on her in Hawaii and really ruined her vacation. When will there be some news out of the APS meeting and the Desoto schools meeting?

SW

July 11th, 2011
5:25 pm

IEE

July 11th, 2011
5:27 pm

Barry, I think the “s” on action is the error! Also the second “action” needs to be changed to another descriptor. Big deal!!!

SAWB

July 11th, 2011
5:28 pm

I think they need “Clawback” on all the bonuses that “Aloho” Hall received.

Former Inman - APS

July 11th, 2011
5:37 pm

Wish Betsy Bockman much luck in her new position; she did her darndest to get Inman Middle School under control and where she wanted. May she pull up the rest of the SRT by its’ collective bootstraps, whether they like it or not… (hah!)

Former Inman - APS

July 11th, 2011
5:39 pm

They need to do a claw-back on all the terminated SRT / Central Office folks across the board, including that lawyer of theirs.

echo

July 11th, 2011
5:51 pm

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/28454467/detail.html

…Hall’s bonus money, varies from $30k – $82K. It should be prosecuted as fraud and all that money given back. Won’t happen though.

Tim

July 11th, 2011
5:56 pm

Seriously, the AJC and Channel 2 have turned this thing into a circus.

I mean, going to Hawaii to track down Beverly Hall? This is ridiculous. What kind of information do you truly believe you will get? (I’m not mad at you Monica, you got a trip to Hawaii out of this nonsense). I still can’t believe the Wednesday July 6 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where they put the faces of 7 black educators on the cover (6 of them women), as if they had committed mass murder. YOU HAVE NEVER put seven white people who were alleged in scandal on the cover like that.

The AJC has the whole nation looking at Atlanta Public Schools as if the entire system is corrupt. These people outside of Atlanta have no idea that no high schools are involved, and only a few middle schools are listed. How many educators are there in APS? Whatever it is, 178 educators is not a large percentage of the total number. But does the AJC make this clear? Of course not.

Why don’t you give other subjects anywhere near this much attention? When Georgia prisoners went on strike last December because of abuse and poor treatment, where was the investigation into the Georgia Department of Corrections? Some of the inmates were severely beaten after the fact, where was your investigation? The Public Service Commission is in bed with Georgia Power, where is your investigation? Look at how the corrupt Georgia Department of Transportation is taking our tax money to build toll roads. Take our money, and then make us pay again. I could go on and on.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is obsessed with APS and nothing else. Is the goal here to demonize public schools to the point where you have the public begging for charter schools?

To Tim -

July 11th, 2011
6:02 pm

Tim – Actually a high school was investigated; there was one (i think for a year?) that administered the CRCT, and there was evidence of cheating. I was surprised… It’s in the massive document posted at WSBTV.com – look for the “first” part. I’m sorry i can’t remember the school nor more details.
As to widespread corruption, not cheating – there are numerous posters, Chilly Willy being my new super hero, who discuss the corruption in the APS administrative offices. Such as eRate.
As to your other accusations of no-coverage – I agree; it’s a sad day when the only person (trying to)holding folks’ feet to the fire is the local self-proclaimed “socialist” at APN~

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 11th, 2011
6:09 pm

GODSPEED to Superintendent Davis as he and his team untie The Gordian Knot that is the APS!

jim crick

July 11th, 2011
6:22 pm

Danny Teacher

July 11th, 2011
6:38 pm

What goes around comes around. When you manange with intimidation and fear, you get what you deserve.

RJ

July 11th, 2011
7:20 pm

I am sooo happy to know that all of the executive directors have been terminated. Michael Pitts is an arrogant man that didn’t want to listen to complaints when brought to him. He ignored so many teachers and I’m happy that he is no longer a part of APS.

tim

July 11th, 2011
7:41 pm

EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS???? A perfect example of the bloated, hire my relative, unqualified personnel that make up school systems.

Mikey D

July 11th, 2011
7:44 pm

There will probably need to be several terminations to get the APS ship steered in the right direction again. Hall clearly had her cronies/accomplices, and they will most likely be resistent to real change as it will reveal their true character. I hope the interim superintendent has the backbone to do more than simply window dressing. Wholesale change is needed, or the effort is doomed before it begins.
If Hall had any integrity, she’d return that super of the year award before they come looking for it. But, that’s a really big “if”…

Remember the Children

July 11th, 2011
8:02 pm

@ Tim. Rhose other news stories– Georgia prisoners and the prison system, the PSC, the DOT and the toll roads– do not have the dimension that this one does: 10 years’ worth of elementary and middle school children in the APS system have been cheated of their one chance to learn get an education, to read, do arithmetic. This is unbelievably terrible. How many flunked or dropped out of high school as a result? How many believe that they are just “dumber than hell,” as one of those APS teachers said in justifying her erasure of incorrect test answers? This is a revisiting of the old Jim Crow Days.

And may those 148 cheating teachers be visited by the spirits of the oldtime black teachers who saw it as their mission to nurture the minds of their young back students and preserve the race.

funny

July 11th, 2011
8:02 pm

@Tim …. sorry …. ur ppl got caught now they have to pay for it….. baaa haaa haaa

@Danny

seems M Rhee was doing the same thing up in DC; and GA governor had a private meeting with her… LOL

ScienceTeacher671

July 11th, 2011
8:14 pm

I’ve got the popcorn if someone else wants to bring the Cokes…looks like it’s going to be quite a show.

Lucy

July 11th, 2011
8:17 pm

So we have Michael Pitts who called the investigation “racist” according to the report – And according to me because I was in the faculty meeting when he said it. And Tamara Cotman with her Go to Hell memo’s and abuse of an interim principal (can’t remember who and where). What kind of rabbit is their attorney going to pull out of his butt to make them look innocent to a judge or jury? I’m glad they want their hearings public because I want to hear the outrageous b.s. they will spew.

And Bev Hall in Hawaii, that is just disgusting. Mainly because of the timing but also who wants to see her in a swim suit?

Christopher Waller from Parks looked especially cheerful and rather like a thug strolling into his church service yesterday. What a con man. To think that I worked for him and actually believed he cared about children makes me nauseated.

justbrowsing

July 11th, 2011
8:24 pm

WSBTV.com is announcing that Khatiim El says he is resigning from the board- there is such a fallout from this fiasco! It is really very sad.

KL

July 11th, 2011
8:25 pm

The Investigators accepted teacher statements without verification or followup. What happens if a teacher fails a lie detector test? I am sure there will be a few Principals and others filing lawsuits which will bring about more investigation and validation. Will investigators retract their statements? How will the damage be undone when when they discover the whistle blower has been flagged for cheating more than once????? They( investigators) were so anxious to blow the lid off a big story that they failed to verify statements or conduct background checks…..It will eventually cost GA a lot more than the two million investigation.

Seeing Deeper

July 11th, 2011
8:25 pm

Where is the NAACP on this, and the SCLC? Where are the protest marches and the candle light prayer vigils? Where are the black preachers?

When will they demand that Hall be given another Civil Rights Achievement and Humanity Award?

Maybe it’s too confusing for them to pick sides- teachers vs. kids.

But the truth is, the race hustlers always run for the shadows when blacks are the cause of the problem.

If a White could have just uttered one “offensive” statement, the scamsters would have an opening.

Nothing, so far.

This race scandal has changed Atlanta forever. Blacks were caught cheating, and they didn’t have Whites to blame for it. From now on, blacks are in so many positions of leadership and power, that their liabilities all fall into their own accounts, and now ours.

Free at last, thank Gawd Awmighty, free at last!

Incredulous

July 11th, 2011
8:37 pm

Please don’t allow the investigation to cease with the APS and Dougherty county. Since the team is already in place, the depth and complexity demand a much more thorough examination of every school and every classroom that was flagged. The damage and potential harm to ALL students cannot be dismissed. All systems were under NCLB and the CRCT’s. Unless the entire state system is thoroughly vetted, we are ALL suspect.

Cere

July 11th, 2011
8:46 pm

Executive Directors — yes, we have those in DeKalb. Dr. Lewis dreamed them up and placed his favorites in the jobs. Skipping right over the “Directors” already in place.

Erroll Davis — you go!! I am sooooooo jealous. Who would have thought APS would be so much further down the road to improvement than DeKalb?

Inman Park Boy

July 11th, 2011
8:48 pm

Tim, get a grip. People are who the are and fraud occurs with both blacks and whites. Isn’t the AJC’s fault that these happen to be black.

Doris M

July 11th, 2011
8:58 pm

What about Sharron Pitts? Millicent Few? Joyce McCloud? What’s their status?

Old School

July 11th, 2011
8:58 pm

APS Parent…

And why do we care?

EDsforreal

July 11th, 2011
9:00 pm

Good choices and one white guy sounds like a sitcom

Appalled12

July 11th, 2011
9:01 pm

Go to Hell

July 11th, 2011
9:03 pm

Tamara Cotman I guess you can head back to Wichita Kansas because your service is no longer needed in Atlanta, unless the GBI need to interview you again.

EDsforreal

July 11th, 2011
9:04 pm

Millicent Few has been replaced by Larry Hoskins and the beat goes on!!!

Just Saying

July 11th, 2011
9:05 pm

In APS, what is now called SRT, (School Resource Team), was once called Area Superintendents. People love to fix what isn’t broken, and assigning a new name is a case in point.

Unethical

July 11th, 2011
9:13 pm

Millicent Few what happen to your job at Coke? Joyce McCloud could you please tell the BOE why the district still need your service because Dr. Hall is no longer the Superintendent.

Just Saying

July 11th, 2011
9:13 pm

APS Parent, what’s the value of your comment? You have two women, so each as a wife. Why would you label it a husband? I think you just call yourself exposing something that is common knowledge. Be valuable or be quiet.

Lucy

July 11th, 2011
9:16 pm

@Edsforeal: How do you know that about Few?

David Sims

July 11th, 2011
9:17 pm

I don’t know whether the axe is coming down at APS, but YouTube is sure filling up with APS cheating scandal related videos. Just go over to YouTube and type in “Atlanta Public Schools.” Comedians on the West Coast are mocking APS. Talk is even going around the world via Al Jazeera. Have I seen anything by the BBC, yet? I don’t remember. If not, it’s surely only a matter of time.

Office of High Schools

July 11th, 2011
9:31 pm

What about the Associate Superintendent, Office of High Schools because Randolph Bynum left in good standing. Hopefully Mr. Davis will starting cleaning house at the Office of High Schools because Abigail Crawford need to resign also.

Mark MyGrant

July 11th, 2011
9:36 pm

I worked with and for Rebecca and the wonderful teachers at Hutchinson ES…I just have a really hard time believing that she had nay knowledge of cheating and/or the cover-up.

Shar

July 11th, 2011
9:37 pm

Betsy Bockman will be a sad loss for Inman Middle but is a fabulous choice for APS. She is smart, utterly honest, open and receptive to parents, demanding, supportive and fair to teachers and excellent in terms of curricular choices and differentiated instruction. She even has a real Ph.D. She has a lot of experience with students across the whole spectrum of ability and she has been the target of endless harassment from Hall’s coven because she innovated and got real results. She’s a strong leader and APS is lucky she stuck through the last terrible years to be in a position to step forward now. Congratulations and go Betsy!

Peachy Ice Candy

July 11th, 2011
9:46 pm

If the SRT EDs are terminated, will they fire the other EDs as well?

Just Saying

July 11th, 2011
9:47 pm

APS Parent, if that’s true, you need to reference the comment so you don’t come through looking bad or petty.

jtom

July 11th, 2011
9:47 pm

KL -
Whistleblowers? There were a few, but you do realize, I hope, that some EIGHTY educators CONFESSED?? And when multiple people say the same things about what was happening and who was involved, you get a pretty clear picture.

I think you’re in denial!

KL

July 11th, 2011
10:13 pm

JTOM –
You are correct about the confessions. But remember that although they confessed, the teachers have placed the blame on everyone else. Surely, they had to know they were cheating and that it was wrong. It is too easy to say “they made me do it”. Also, I am not convinced that the Executives knew the details of every process involving testing in every school. If they knew, surely the staff would not be taking test papers home for the weekend. Yes, they should be fired – the Principal and the teachers! Certainly there is enough guilt to go around, but be careful casting a net. Whether you want to hear it or not – there are always two sides to every story. Right now, the only two sides being heard are the Teachers and the Investigators.

Just Saying

July 11th, 2011
10:16 pm

That “Wall of Silence” needs to be cracked if all this is to be fair. No one should be able to breathe a sigh of relief, wipe their brow, and say, “Whew, I made it through this.”