Breaking news from Clayton County where controversial schools Superintendent Dr. Edmond Heatley resigned effective the end of next month.
The Clayton school board released a statement that an interim will be appointed to take Heatley’s place. “School has just begun and our primary focus will remain providing the students of Clayton County with a high quality education during this transition,” said chairwoman Pam Adamson. ”We are grateful to Dr. Heatley for his service and wish him the best.”
Heatley, the eighth Clayton County superintendent since 2000, was not fired. “He still has the confidence and respect of the majority of the board,” said Pam Adamson, who met with Heatley Wednesday morning regarding his decision.
It was apparent that Heatley wanted out of Clayton.
Heatley, who came to Clayton County in 2009, had interviewed for the superintendency in Dallas earlier this summer. The Texas job was open because the former Dallas school chief Michael Hinojosa left a year ago to become Cobb County Schools’ top administrator. Heatley did not get the Dallas job.
According to a July AJC story about Heatley:
He has been credited with helping the 50,000-student system regain full accreditation after years of struggle. His initial contract paid him a $250,000 base salary. His contract now runs through June 30, 2014. Calls to Heatley, who rarely gives news interviews, were not returned Tuesday.
Despite Clayton County’s accreditation rebound, Heatley’s tenure in the district has been marked by distractions and tough decisions. During recent budget talks, the idea of eliminating sports and fine arts programs in middle schools was floated, and several unfilled jobs were eliminated.
“A lot of people have issues for the superintendent, but that is par for the course, ” said Rex resident and school board watcher Larry O’Keeffe. “I am not as happy as I was, because the school system has become less open and transparent.”
In February, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the school system spent upward of $40,000 to investigate rumors of an inappropriate relationship involving Heatley and a school district employee. The investigation was launched by the school board without public discussion or a public vote and coincided with districtwide budget cuts, which included layoffs, delays in key purchases and a shorter academic calendar.
Heatley repeatedly denied the accusation and the costly investigation uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog