After the release of the state’s devastating report on cheating in Atlanta schools and the culture that fostered and tolerated it, many people concluded that it would be unlikely that the APS top leadership would ever work again in education.
They could be right.
Tonight, former APS superintendent deputy Kathy Augustine lost her new post in a suburban Texas system. The DeSoto Independent School District board of trustees canceled Augustine’s three-year school chief contract and negotiated a buyout with her. That 3-2 vote to remove Augustine makes her the highest-ranking Atlanta administrator to lose a job because of the scandal.
The board bypassed monthly business to take up the matter in a closed session. They deliberated more than 90 minutes before voting. Augustine’s contract stipulates that in case of termination, she and the board must mutually agree on the terms.
“This is nothing personal,” said Sandra Wheeler, a DeSoto school board member who had cautioned against hiring Augustine. “This is about leadership in this district. It’s about ethics and integrity. At this time, I don’t feel the leadership ability is there. I have chosen to support the severance. I think our children are owed what’s best.”
Board member Aubrey Hooper, while acknowledging he found the investigation of the APS scandal “troubling,” said DeSoto had to move forward and get its students prepared for college.
“I don’t feel 100 percent that the leader we have chosen can make that happen,” Hooper said. “I have some questions there.”
Augustine was placed on administrative leave in July after only one day of work in her $188,000 job while the board looked into her involvement with APS cheating. A photo of her in a collegiate robe standing with the DeSoto board remains on the Texas district’s website. Yet she spent little time actually working on DeSoto Schools business with her board.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog