Four Atlanta superintendents removed in CRCT fallout

Photo by Stephen Kubiak

Photo by Stephen Kubiak

Atlanta - Interim Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis replaced four area superintendents with principals Monday and former school board chairman 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."

El had been removed last month as school board chairman but able to retain his seat on the board. El has accepted a new job as chief of staff for the Foundation for Newark's Future in Newark, N.J. He was one of the first on the board last year to question APS whether was doing enough to respond to cheating concerns.

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.

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.

The staff moves were the first by Davis in response to a test-cheating scandal that has implicated 178 employees in 44 schools and could result in criminal charges. And there may be more people involved, according to the two men who led the state investigation.

Davis did not offer further changes, though more certainly will come. Given employees' contractual and legal rights to due process, it will take at least four months if not longer to address all employees involved.