From Stephen J. Alford, executive director of communications, Atlanta Public Schools, on the purge yesterday of the leadership at North Atlanta High School:
Thank you for sharing your concerns and views about the recent leadership transition at North Atlanta High School. We have been preparing for new leadership at North Atlanta after learning that our principal planned to retire at the end of last school year.
On Monday, Dr. Howard Taylor was approved by the Atlanta Board of Education to serve as the new principal of North Atlanta. We are confident that Dr. Taylor’s leadership will take the school to the next level, a level of excellence that our parents and students deserve.
We understand the concern about timing and continuity, but please know that North Atlanta is replete with determined instructional professionals who are committed to delivering a quality education to all students. In addition, APS will certainly provide enhanced school-level support to ensure that there is no gap in service to students. In fact, each academy has been assigned two transition academy leaders, during the transition process. Permanent academy leaders will be installed by Dr. Taylor as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that among other changes, we will be moving into a new school next year; the move to a new campus coupled with having a new principal and installing a new leadership team is precisely why it is critical that we begin the transition process sooner, rather than later. Our decisions and actions are guided by longterm, sustainable school and instructional programs that will benefit all students.
Make no mistake, we thought long and hard about the transition. In making significant decisions that result in changes to our schools, we owe it to you and all of our stakeholders to weigh many important factors, including how the school is structured, about processes — how we get things done, and about timing. We have done the work and we are confident that we are making the right decisions that are best for North Atlanta.
Making the right decision is not always easy or popular, but it is always right. We are eager to transition to new leadership at North Atlanta High School and deliver an enhanced educational experience that our students and parents deserve. The staff members, students, parents and community stakeholders of North Atlanta High School play a critical role in the success of the transition. Now is the time to begin laying the foundation of North Atlanta’s new direction.
We will be meeting with parents next week to provide additional information about the transition and answer questions that our parents deserve answered. There is nothing more important to APS than providing a quality education to all students. We will work with parents, students, and employees to make the transition successful and enhance the educational experience at North Atlanta. Parents demand excellence from us; we are demanding excellence for our students and parents.
Again, thank you for sharing your concerns.
Stephen J. Alford
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog